Saturday, 25 October 2008

Of Local Interest

I went to see Nik Turner and his band last night.
Nik is our local underground music celebrity.
Mind you, Hawkwind had so many pass through their ranks, you may well have your very own local ex-Hawkwind underground music celebrity living in your neighbourhood.
But Nik's great. He's been doing it for a bloody long time; and he's still damn good at what he does.

From Hawkind (psychedelic rock) to Inner City Unit (arty post-punk), from Inner City Unit back to Hawkwind, from Hawkwind to Nik Turner's Fabulous All Stars (thug jazz/R&B dance band), from the All Stars back to Hawkwind, from Hawkwind back to the All Stars, from the All Stars to Galaktikos (back to psychedelic rock) to the Nik Turner Band (back to thug jazz & R&B with a funky twist), which is what I experienced last night.

The original Fabulous All Stars, formed in 1987, featured two saxophones, bass, Hammond Organ and drums.
The incarnation that Nik has up and running at the moment, has himself on sax and flute, accompanied by guitar, bass and drums; and the more pared down sound creates a raw, but dancy sound.

The slap-happy six-string bass player certainly added to the upbeat groove, but the counterpointing Nik used to create before with the other sax and the Hammond Organ has now been replaced with some excellent synchronous playing between his sax notes and the guitar.
In other words they were often playing the same notes at the same time.
And I thought that gave it a kind of Mothers' sound; which is no bad thing in my opinion, as the Mothers' sound was one of the greatest sounds ever created.

So Cheers Nik.
And, Nice one Dave! Good gig.

So I've managed to come up with something from back in the day, 1987 in fact, when Nik Turner first started touring with his then new band The Fabulous All Stars.

And this is a nice bit of history.
A bootleg soundboard recording from the Sir George Robey Pub in Finsbury Park, North London, on a Club Dog night.

History, because as Nik was telling me last night, the pub is no more (another wonderful independent music venue gone from London's ever decreasing, and now, ever so corporate music scene); and history, because it captures Nik Turner's new direction right at the beginning.

So I've retained much of the audience ambiance on this recording; because the Club Dog audience were a very special audience indeed.

At that time the Robey became the centre of the London underground scene. As well as Nik, I saw bands such as Gaye Bykers on Acid, African Headcharge, Daevid Allen (with and without Gong), Tony McPhee, Loop Guru and loads of other bands I was just too wasted to remember.

But Nik was always a firm favourite.
And everybody would always get on down; and much jigging, sweating and rubbing of bodies would occur.

It was always interesting to see those with Mohawks mix with Skinheads, Angels, Crusties, Hippies, Rastas and Cheesy Quavers all dancing together to tunes such as 'Sidewinder', 'So What' and 'That Mellow Saxophone'.

Unfortunately, the bootleg ends rather abruptly, so we don't get to hear Nik's ever crowd-pleasing version of Glen Miller's 'In the Mood'.
It has many restarts, and each one plays the melody faster and faster until everyone literally falls down in a big heap.
Everyone except Nik that is, he's the only one still standing; and I've got the feeling that as long as there's one person to answer back to his frequent refrain: 'Do you want some more?' Then Nik Turner will probably go on standing forver.
Good on ya, Kadu Flyer: may your Kadu keep you aloft for a long time to come.

If you are interested in Nik's music, some of Inner City Unit's music is still available; check out his official site; his myspace page; or if there is any interest expressed here, I MIGHT, MIGHT just be able to get a more up to date soundboard recording to post...

Nik Turner's Fabulous All Stars - Live Soundboard Recording (1987)
Cassette rip @ 256kbs.

Please be aware, this is a soundboard recording from a North London pub back in the eighties.
Don't get me wrong, this is perfectly listenable to (I'd give it a B+ for sound quality), but Gus Dudgeon it ain't.

But if you, like me, believe that quality of music is greater than quality of sound, then you, like me, really don't give a shit.
Enjoy; and get it here

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah the Robey! Remember one visit there on the day when all day opening first came into effect [was that the night I saw the Fairports there?. Long may your local Psychonaut toot his flute....

QEF

kingpossum said...

Yippee skippy. Anything that includes Mr. Nik Turner always welcome. Thank u for this bit of history and lunacy.

Josh said...

Great post Roy. I love Hawkwind and ICU, I can't wait to hear this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Nice one - I have been lucky to catch Nik umpteen times over the years over the years and saw him with his daughter twice too. I have a soft spot for the all stars and spent many a happy hour at the Robey - toilets were a tad unpleasant though.

Nick

pinkpressthreat said...

Thanks for all these NT/I.C.U. posts-F***in Dancer!!

Anonymous said...

Roy, if you'd like, I got one or two good pix of Nik and the Galacticos at the Celtic Blues Rock Festival in Wales in Aug. 2006 - if you'd like me to up a link here, just let me know ... cheers, Dave Sez.

roy rocket said...

Yeah, sure, I'd like to see them; there's probably a few others who fancy a butchers, too.
Cheers, roy