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Space Ritual (live at The Borderline)

The Borderline, London
13 January 2012

Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky.”

Like the spaceship in Ray Bradbury’s book about to blast its cargo to Mars, Space Ritual have a constant feel of the summer, their music warming even the coldest of winters evenings. The sense of free festivals and long warm days hangs in the air and a mystical pan like reverie pervades.

“I was going to record and sample my farts for a track,” Nik Turner casually informs the throng in front of him; a cheer of Bacchanalian joy fills the room and the space ritual begins. Drums pound from the nether regions of the universe while the sax plays a symphony from Orion’s belt and synthesizers  swirl and bleep their way making the sound as if recoded from some NASA space probe. Guitars create black holes in the sky and the mother-ship pauses waiting to land.

Angel Flame dances wildly through a set of songs that include “Children of the Sun,” “Otherworld” and “Orgone Accumulator” with various different costume changes.  The song “Sonic Savages” sounds like a hymnal to the stars, one that I can’t shake out of my head for the next few days.  “Watching the Grass Grow” is a punked-up slab of space rock that has morphed into a larger song from the old Inner City Unit daze. And “Born to Go” still resonates with the power and wonder of the early ’70s when it was created and Nik was just beginning his blast off into the cosmos.

A horn section appears on stage and a flautist and suddenly its beginning to look very crowded and free form. The sound grows like the noise of the big bang and after two hours he band powerhouse their way to the end of their set. They leave Nik standing sentinel on stage playing the theme from the Pink Panther on his sax alone with the stars and the cold void of space.

The air outside the venue seems crisp, the leaving audience laugh and have acid type smiles across their faces. There is a feeling of warmth and for a second you could almost imagine a butterfly in a January sky in London town.

The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land…..

-Gary Parsons-

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