SpaceRitual.net, Nik Turner's assemblage of early members of Hawkwind, played a gig at the
Roadmender, Northampton, on 24/01/03 as part of a UK tour. Gerald Whitworth attended and kindly
wrote this review. The autograph images are his too - thanks Gerry!
'Stay High - Nik Turner'
Left: 'Alice Rhubarb'
Right: a nice
message from Del
I went to the SpaceRitual.net concert with my son, Andy, who is 21. He knew nothing about Hawkwind
except that his "old man" listened to them a lot on his personal CD. He wasn't particularly keen on
coming to the concert, and for some reason, even playing my Hawkwind collection to him did not raise
his enthusiasm. In the end I had to resort to bribing him with the promise of a few beers - that did the
The RoadMender is situated in central Northampton, close to the rail and bus stations, with ample car
parking opposite. It is a relatively small venue with a capacity of around 850. There is a main hall and a
separate bar where the group merchandise was available. I bought a black "Greasy Truckers Party"
T-shirt, and the double CD "2001 A Space Rock Odyssey Live" for a total of £25. Talking to Dave on
the merchandising stall who confirmed that the line up was as expected, and also that the band had played
a blinder the night before at Southampton and get better with every gig.
Well after a 30 minute set by 5 piece support act "The Theory", SpaceRitual.net members came on stage
and noises began in the vein of Earth Calling. Nik entered from the rear, playing his sax, and walked
amongst the audience before taking to the stage. He was wearing his spiky bug outfit and passed within
a couple of feet of us. Wow. Little was I to know that things would get even better. We took up our
position right at the front, against the barrier and to the right of centre. This turned out to be just right, it
gave a great view of the band, and was directly in front of where Debbie did the majority of her dancing.
Her dancing was fast and electric. Her costumes were interesting, scant and on occasions failed to
contain her ample assets.
The band played for around 2 and a quarter hours. Familiar numbers included: Born to Go, D-Rider,
Brainstorm, Orgone Accumulator, Children of the Sun, Masters of the Universe and Silver Machine.
These were interspersed with at least 4 other new material songs. All of the favourites were "long"
versions, lasting around 10 minutes, and included an improvised middle section before returning to the
main tune. Orgone Accumulator, Brainstorm and Masters of the Universe were absolutely brilliant and
got a good response from the crowd.
The line up was:
Nik Turner - sax and flute
Terry and Sam Ollis - both drums
Dave Anderson - bass
Mick Slattery - guitar
Thomas Crimble - guitar
Del Dettmar - signals and noises
Alice Rhubarb - vocals
Jaki Windmill - djembe
John Greves - synths
...and a young man who might have been Thomas Hewitt joined them on stage after about an hour. Nik
introduced the band but I didn't quite catch the name of the young guitarist.
So what was the best part of the concert. Well singing "I've got a Silver Machine" into the mike that Nik
was holding out to me during the final number was pretty close. Shaking Nik's hand at the end and
getting his, and Alice Rhubarb's autographs was just something else. But then I spoke to Del and asked
him if he would sign my ticket for me. He was just so nice, even asking me if Gerry was spelt with a
"G" or a "J". I just cannot believe I spoke to these guys and got their autographs. Something so fantastic
I could never have imagined it. These guys are like legends to me.
But it was an absolutely fantastic gig. Die hard Hawkwind fans (of which I am one) might not like me
saying that it was probably the best gig I have ever been to, and that includes Hawkwind who had played
at the same venue only 6 weeks earlier. Even my son Andy was ecstatic. He gave the gig 9 out of 10,
admitting that before the concert he was expecting to rate it just one out of 10. Any bad points, well the
size of the crowd was disappointingly small. Well short of a sell out. Jon Gloersen, entertainments
manager of the RoadMender, had admitted that the publicity of this event had not been ideal. I do hope
that the band will give Northampton another chance and return soon. I for one will most certainly be
My thanks go to Jon of the RoadMender and Chris Hewitt, manager of SpaceRitual.net, for kindly
providing information before the event. Also to Starfarer for inviting me to write this review, and to my
son Andy for coming with me, and for becoming SpaceRitual's latest fan.