Part of the fun of SXSW is taking in sets by bands in the weirdest venues possible. From restaurants to retail spaces, there’s bands playing pretty much everywhere. And so on the Friday night of the festival, I found myself taking in a set of space rock courtesy of Nik Turner at a full on country bar with a mechanical bull and everything. And yes, I did see a patron riding that bull. She fell off, in case you were wondering.
One of the most interesting aspects of this show (aside from the fact that Turner and band were performing Hawkwind’s Space Ritual in it’s entirety)was watching what I assume were the usual patrons of this bar interacting with all of the space rock freaks who came to see the show. A highlight was the sight of a couple slow dancing to Turner’s sax and synth infused freakout. It’s hard to look that smooth while dipping your partner to a krautrock beat, but they managed to accomplish it. Also, the guy who walked right up to the front of the stage and just stared at the band for a minute as if to suss out what it was all about was quite entertaining. What, you’ve never seen a guy in his 70s wearing electrical tape on his jacket while screaming about how to attain simultaneous orgasm in case of a sonic attack? You need to get out more, man.
As far as the show itself, it was one of the highlights of my SXSW experience. The band sounded great and were worth trekking along Fifth Street late on a Friday night while avoiding the temptation of a Chilantro burrito and randomly walking through the middle of a mass singalong at the end of a Third Eye Blind concert. And for those interested, Turner announced that the band would be putting out a new release sometime soon, getting in a dig at former bandmate Dave Brock (who famously sued him over the right to use the Hawkwind name) adding, “It’s way better than that Hawkwind shit.”