Past Masters

Space Ritual are made up primarily of former members of Hawkwind, not all the ex members however as there surely isn't a stage big enough to house them! Due to altered stage times I miss the start of their set and as I arrive they are just going into a version of 'The Right Stuff'. A tea time slot on an outdoor stage means that much of the lightshow and smoke effects are rather ineffective so what we're left with from a visual perspective is the band themselves, their advancing years clearly evident. They are supported with numerous dancers, some of whom it seems have been plucked from the crowd to perform alongside the regular dancers. This means they give over a wholly uncoordinated performance that becomes increasingly irritating the longer it goes on.

The members of Space Ritual between them are responsible for some of the best psychedelic space rock to come out of the early seventies and much of the set today features songs from this era. It's a mixed performance however, some of the guys can quite obviously still cut it, Mick Slattery (founder member of Hawkwind) for one puts in some excellent guitar work but by comparison Thomas Crimble's guitar work is sloppy. Nik Turner has never been the greatest vocalist and today he sounds rather disinterested, even the classic 'Brainstorm' fails to get him active and he spends much of the set motionless at the mic stand, whereas in the past he has always made up for sub standard vocals with excellent showmanship. The sound is muffled and they lack the power that was so much a part of the early Hawkwind live sound, some tracks fare better than others (Masters of The Universe for one) but overall they are disappointing. I really want to like Space Ritual but the whole thing just sounds flat and somewhat laborious. I don't doubt that in the confines of an enclosed venue their effect would be amplified but today they just don't quite cut it.