HW Space Ritual

Jonathan Jarrett jjarrett at CHIARK.GREENEND.ORG.UK
Tue Jan 20 10:26:36 EST 2009

On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 07:40:42AM -0800, Steve Swann typed out:
> I have to wonder what happened when I saw Nikwind (when he was backed
> the Pressurehead guys) in NY years ago.  The band gave a great
> performance and Nik was downright gentlemanly.  He freaking bowed to
> the audience at the end, and in a very formal voice thanked us all for
> attending!  It was a great show I wouldn't have thought twice about
> going back to see them again.  And my wife saw Nikwind twice and she
> said the show I missed was even better.
> And yet I always hear these stories about him being a loose cannon. 
> Did I just get lucky seeing that show??

	I think the explanation here is that Nik in the USA is a very 
different thing from Nik in the UK. To tour the USA Nik needs someone 
else to do the bulk of the work, and he tends to tour with bands who are 
bands in and of themselves, Pressurehed/Farflung, 5:15, Spaceseed and so 
on. They're all rehearsed and in practice before he arrives, the 
bookings are made and the dates known well in advance and so it unrolls 
professionally. And then in the UK he seems to gather a bunch of mates, 
many of whom should no longer be allowed on a stage for a paying public, 
together at the last minute, there is no rehearsal and either he and THE 
MIGHTY JUDGE TREV save the day or they can't (if, e. g. Trev isn't 
there). But people always come. So he can get away with much less effort 
(and works with some people for whom organisation and professional 
musiciansip is less of a concern than it is for Grenas and del Rio who 
both make their living at it) and so he doesn't try harder. Nik himself 
has always been when I've seen him a gentleman, friendly, and a quality 
frontman, often even playing well, especially when All Stars members 
were involved. But his bands in the UK are shambles and in the USA 
they're well-drilled units and that's the difference you're seeing.

	Somehow Space Ritual have never managed to climb above this 
problem despite being a band in and of themselves. Which is not to say 
that the new album isn't very good, because it is, but it's also a fine
example of the miracle of what a good studio and producer can do for a 
ropey live outfit. Yours,

"When fortune wanes, of what assistance are quantities of elephants?"
	    (Juvaini, Afghan Muslim chronicler, c. 1206)
 Jon Jarrett, Fitzwilliam Museum, jjarrett at chiark.greenend.org.uk

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