Space Ritual live at Guilfest 17th July 2005

Thanks to MikRik for the review and Rob Dreamworker for the photo!
The band kicked off with Welcome To The Future and then went into a cracking version of Right Stuff.  
Things then get a bit blurry but I think they did a new number (that Thomas mentioned may be on the new
album), Sonic Savages (not sausages, as I originally thought), possibly another number and then they
finished with a great version of Master Of The Universe.

The band were playing together really well. Dave and Terry driving things forward.  The revelation for me
was the quality of Mick's guitar playing - he was really playing some great lead and rhythm.  Sam added
some nice scratching here and there, too.  Nik played some far-out sax stuff and John the Ghost added the
spacey synth noodlings. A really good performance.

The band attracted a much larger crowd than they had done the previous year.  Everyone was really into it
and you could tell the band were chuffed with the reaction.  It was good to see them get some recognition
from a large crowd.  Real shame they couldn't have been allowed a bit more time to do one more song –
the audience certainly wanted that.  Nik said they were doing various up-and-coming gigs including the
Wickerman festie (22nd & 23rd July 2005).

Go check 'em out - you won't be disappointed

*** [NB Check out the Space Ritual page on the Guilfest 2005 website.  There will be further photos
added to the Guilfest site over the coming days]
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As you can appreciate, for Hawkfans at the Guilfest (and there were a number dotted around), seeing
Space Ritual was one of the highlights of the 3 day festie.  The weather was glorious and the vibe was
good.
***

Space Ritual hit the Uncut Stage at about 5:15pm accompanied by billowing dry ice and sonic rumblings.
The line up - Nik Turner, Dave Anderson, Mick Slattery, Thomas Crimble, John the Ghost, Terry Ollis,
Sam Ollis and probably some others too.  Also, the band were joined on stage by some female dancers, the
youngest of whom was Rob Dreamworker's little daughter - Connie.  The girls did a fab job.  One of the
dancers was a sexy looking nurse ;-)
[That would be Angel!]
Above: Space Ritual on stage with Connie... her proud father adds: "...¦and the other young lady (in pink) is
Harley who danced with Space Ritual last year wearing a No Angel t-shirt (I think Harley's mum did some
dancing as well, wearing blue/purple)."

L-R: Harley, Nik Turner, Terry Ollis (behind drum kit), Connie, Sam Ollis, Mick Slattery, Thomas Crimble
Well, it's not from the Guilfest performance, but here's a dramatically opposed take on the merits or
otherwise of Space Ritual from Keith Henderson (posted to the BOC-L/Hawkwind email list and reprinted
here by permission), who saw them at Burg Herzberg 2005:

"Space Ritual I think are really terrible, sorry to say. I hadn't really thought about it much beforehand, but it
just makes absolutely no damn sense whatsoever to have assembled this crazy band. Yeah, OK, it has five
people who were (nearly) original members of the band, but then why is the band called Space Ritual, and
why do they play Space Ritual-era songs (almost exclusively) when none (apart from Nik himself) were
ever actually *in* the band in 1972-73? Unlike before, when Nik occasionally threw together a bunch of
guys to play behind him without much rehearsal (if any), such that it was kind of a mess (but at least it was
some kind of 'celebration' of Hawkwind music...that is to say, as classic Space Rock), this band actually
could play reasonably well, with only an occasional clusterf*ck. So the problem wasn't the *ability* of the
band members to play, just that none of them (save perhaps Terry Ollis) know a damn thing about how to
'blanga.' The style of the music was ALL WRONG. I couldn't even recognize half the songs until Nik
started singing. I thought D-Rider was Golden Void (it was actually pretty good, 'cause Golden Void is my
favorite HW song), and Brainstorm sounded oddly like Damnation Alley. And Mick Slattery was playing
some f*cking kind of slide guitar solo in the middle of it...he doesn't apparently realize that HW strayed
away from blues music very soon after he left. I swear, the band sounds much closer to Status Quo (or
what I think Status Quo sounds like, given that they are almost completely unknown in the states), ie. some
kind of silly party boogie-blues-like rubbish. It was very surreal to hear Hawkwind songs played in this
style, and frankly rather disturbing and almost painful. OK, I admit that I thought Nik and Trev's (silly?)
punk versions of Brainstorm and MotU were enjoyable, so I'm not entirely against reinterpretation of old HW
classics, but these versions were truly offensive I must say.

Actually, Sonic Attack (no horrible bouncy blues rhythm) they did really well, oddly enough...and MotU as a
finale wasn't too awful, but then Anderson (I never really liked him in AD2 either) and Ollis at least played
on the studio version. Other than that, they did no tracks that any of the members featured on. Not even
Hurry on Sundown amazingly enough.

Anyway, sorry, but I can't give thumbs up to this band. Nik has just gone off the tracks with this one...I
would like to see what sort of excuse he might have for why anyone should care that he has a band with
five 1969-1971 members, when the one thing they absolutely can NOT do is sound anything remotely like
Space Rock. At all. And who the hell even knows/remembers that Tom Crimble and Mick were ever in the
band? What the hell is the point of all this?! And why wasn't it obvious to me that the whole thing was silly
before I even went to see them?"

I thought this piece quite powerful, fuelled by the author's evident indignation, and as far as I know it's the
first time that anyone's made this precise point (as opposed to the criticisms of Space Ritual's looseness a
couple of years ago).  I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the sentiments expressed here, not having
seen Space Ritual live.  Some of the responses to Keith's original post endorsed his views, but plenty would
dispute them firecely.  So here's a link to streaming audio of
Space Ritual playing live at the Roadburn
festival in the Netherlands, April 2005, which I don't think entirely bears out the criticisms; Ejection is a bit
ropey perhaps, but Brainstorm is decent and MotU is pretty good...

22nd July 2005: a counterblast has arrived by email:

My God, Keith was a bit harsh, wasn't he?!?  As a relatively (!) objective fan of the band, I would like to
offer the following in the interests of equality:

1. The band is called Space Ritual because they are not permitted to use any name containing the registered
trademark "Hawkwind", or indeed any other name combining a bird and an element. The album "Space
Ritual", which of course features Nik extensively, was the band's most successful album in the UK, hence it
makes commercial sense to use the name. "Hawkwind", it should be remembered, was originally Nik's
nickname!

2. They do not play "Space Ritual"-era songs almost exclusively. "Master", "Brainstorm", "You Shouldn't Do
That" and "Children Of The Sun" all pre-date the SR album, and were written by Nik and, in two cases,
Dave A. The "SR" album tracks performed are "Born To Go", on which Nik sang lead, "Orgone
Accumulator", included as a tip of the hat to Robert, "Sonic Attack (likewise, or Michael Moorcock, if you
must). The remainder of the set consists of, amongst others, "D-Rider" (written by Nik, post-"SR"),
"Ejection" and "The Right Stuff" (both Robert solo songs), ""Watching The Grass Grow" (ICU), "Ghost
Dance" (Nik with HW 80's), not to mention a handful of new tracks.

3. The chord sequence from "D-Rider" is the same as that from "Golden Void", albeit in a different key. D
minor to B flat, A minor to F... same interval. Interestingly, Nik's song came out a year before Dave
Brock's...

4. Mick and Terry have both played in blues-orientated bands for many years. Nik plays in a jazz/funk/latin
band! This is not unnaturally going to show in SR's music. I appreciate that this might not be to everyone's
taste, but it hardly results in the "disturbing and almost painful" result implied.

5. If that's what Keith thinks Status Quo sound like, I would recommend listening to some Status Quo. Try
anything btween "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" (1970) and "Live!" (1977). Anything after that isn't as good,
but will prove that SR sound even less like Quo!

6. SR do not play any songs which have been solely credited to Dave Brock due to a legal injunction
preventing them from doing so. Tellingly, Hawkwind currently finish their live set with a Nik Turner song...

7. I would hazard a guess that Nik's reason (I will not use the word "excuse") for playing in this band would
be that several old friends who genuinely enjoy each other's company are playing a selection of old, new,
borrowed and even blue material to enthusiastic audiences and having a great time doing it!

Sorry for the rant Steve, publish if you dare!!!

Very best wishes,

The Count

And that's where I'd like to leave this, since I republished Keith's BOC-L/Hawkwind post for its powers as a
piece of writing and don't want to foster any Hawkwind religious wars...