Space Ritual – Borderline, London (Feb 26th, 2011)

This was my first time to get to see Nik Turner’s Space Ritual with Terry Ollis, Mick Slattery, and Thomas Crimble, all from the very earliest days of Hawkwind (they don’t play a single track from the only album most of the played on!). Anyway, the Borderline is a very cool club and it was pretty packed. I met up with some new friends (Brian, DJ Wierditude), David from Paradise 9, and briefly said hello to Nik, who blew me away by calling me by name and I had not seen him in person in many years. I saw and met Nik in the USA on the Jan 1994 tour and the one the following year with the Pressurehed guys backing him and both those tours were great!

Anyway, the band started around 20:30, a bit later than stated and Sam Olis was playing some pretty damn cool music as well. They opened with Watching the Grass Grow and Nik looked and sounded fantastic. The whole band sounded great and was having a good time. They played quite a few songs from their only CD release, Otherworld, including Sonic Savages, Ritual of the Ravaged Earth, Time Crime, Walking Backwards and Otherworld. In between, we heard pretty long versions, usually around 10 mins long with lots of jamming on Steppenwolf, Reefer Madness, D-Rider (See video) and Ejection. A huge surprise was when 3 girls (two French horn and one trombone player) appeared on stage and the band played a famous Charlie Mingus track (see my video). Another guy snuck up and played clarinet also. This was pretty cool and psyched out and they stayed on stage the rest of the show for Master of the Universe (which they did not play much) and a pretty damn cool and unique long version of Brainstorm ended the show.

I have to say it was a really good band, Terry is playing really solid and steady, Thomas Crimble plays some cool Hammond stuff but I think he should sit out on Master of the Universe and Brainstorm, as he changes the sound of the songs in a bad way, Nik was in top form and the bass player and synth player were great. They are for sure more like the 70’s Hawkwind then the Dave Brock Hawkwind of today (I also like them a lot and they play a more focused mixture of new age spacey music and harder rock stuff), in that they really space out, experiment a lot more. I think Thomas should just not play on all the songs and it would be really amazing. I had a great time and the sound was fantastic as well. Great sound man on this night.

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