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SPACE RITUAL

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Space Ritual biography
The origins of SPACE RITUAL are to be found in the very genesis of Spacerock itself, in the cauldren of invention that was London's counter-culture in the late 1960s, when underground stalwarts Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Bob Calvert and others coalesced into a band that came to be known as HAWKWIND. Fuelled by psychedelia and driven by anti-establishment principles, the band soon developed a musical hybrid blending mind-expanding cosmic experimentation with gut-wrenching rock riffology. But success bred dissent and discontent as members came and went with alarming regularity.

Now, fast forward to 2000 and the first 'Hawkestra' reunion, pausing briefly to notice Nik Turner's return to his space roots during an American sojourn in the mid 90s. The Hawkestra reunion was a success for the fans, and many ex-members renewed old acquaintances and enjoyed the occasion, but there were ructions behind the scenes that would explode into the infamous 'Hawkwars' during the early part of the new decade. SPACE RITUAL was finally born as some of those ex-members, polarising around Nik Turner, sought to rekindle the spirit of the Hawkwind they once knew and had been a part of. They included three who had played at Hawkwind's first ever gig in 1969: Nik Turner, Terry Ollis and Mick Slattery.

Initially called X-HAWKWIND, the name was changed as a result of an injunction brought by Dave Brock. Space Ritual is Hawkwind re-born, in many ways the essence of the band as it existed 35 years ago, recreating the loose musical structures, powerhouse rhythms and audio-visual lunacy that had captivated audiences all those years earlier, and run as a democratic outfit with a loosely defined line-up of those same musicians who helped to bring many of the Hawkwind classics, including Dave Anderson, Thomas Crimble, Del Dettmar, Dik Mik and Huw Lloyd-Langton in addition to the aforementioned Turner, Ollis and Slattery amongst a smattering of new names.

Parent band Hawkwind have moved on, leaving Space Ritual as the keeper of the classic Spacerock flame, accompanied by a smattering of followers like KREL and LITMUS (who often support them in concert). But they are not merely a nostalgia act - while part of the band's repertoire is comprised of Hawkwind standards, the remainder is a mixture of new songs and others from Nik Turner's back catalogue. Increasingly, the band has turned to new material, but a full-length CD is long overdue. Indeed, an album of all new material has...
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OtherworldOtherworld
Import
Esoteric 2008
Audio CD$11.15
$3.34 (used)
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SPACE RITUAL shows & tickets


  • the final public performance of space ritual on 30 Nov 2014

SPACE RITUAL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SPACE RITUAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 6 ratings
Otherworld
2007

SPACE RITUAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
2001 A Space Rock Odyssey
2001
2.49 | 3 ratings
Live At Glastonbury And Guildford Festival, 2002
2002
4.95 | 2 ratings
Live At The Venusian Electric Ballroom In The Cygnus 5 Galaxy
2004

SPACE RITUAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.84 | 4 ratings
Satiricon
2006

SPACE RITUAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SPACE RITUAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 2 ratings
Sonic Savages
2005

SPACE RITUAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Otherworld by SPACE RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.30 | 6 ratings

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Otherworld
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by MichaelLeeSmyth

4 stars Maybe I am one lucky sod after all. Whilst I am a long term PROG(?) fan my collection stretches from the Avante styling of Arthur Brown's Strangeland to the rather Triumph like sounds of Zebra and all things in between. I had never heard of Hawkwind until I began to research Motorhead back in 1981. Noted and forgotten until I saw the Documentary a couple of years ago. So unlike a lot of the people here I can take Space Ritual-Otherworld as a stand alone without the baggage of an entirely separate entity.

I can sum up my review pretty easily, since every word I type on here I no longer own as it hits the screen.

Buy this if you like great music, pretty simple stuff, no comparisons to Hawkwind. If you want to listen to a Hawkwind LP-put one on. The past is a strange and wonderful place, perhaps you should journey with the rest of us to the future.

As a musician, lyricist, poet and dreamer I highly advise adding this to make your mind happy.

8/31/2013 MichaelLeeSmyth

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 Live At Glastonbury And Guildford Festival, 2002 by SPACE RITUAL album cover Live, 2002
2.49 | 3 ratings

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Live At Glastonbury And Guildford Festival, 2002
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars It is obvious from the name alone that there are some Hawkwind connections going on, but it is just a bit more than that. It is possible to argue that the origins of the band go back as far as Group X in 1969. Their first gig on August 29th, 1969, included Nik Turner, Mick Slattery and Terry Ollis and here they are all back onstage together again. Also involved is Thomas Crimble, who was Hawkwind bassist from July 1970 to April 1971. Commander Jim Hawkman has also been playing with Space Ritual.Net and various other ex-Hawkwind luminaries have been involved, including Del Dettmar who joined them for the current tour. Even young Michael Moorcock has promised to put in appearance! This album was recorded at Glastonbury and Guildford last year.

So what about the music? There are two drummers (Terry is joined by his son Sam) but to say that they come across as classic Hawkwind seems to be stating the obvious. They resist the temptation to play "Silver Machine" followed by "Brainstorm" and instead concentrate on their own material, but it sounds as if classic Hawkwind are back. One song that is a notable exception is their version of Coltrane's "Blue Train" which shows that they have more than one string to their sax. The only thing that spoils this is the abrupt ending or interruption as the album moves from track to track but that may be just from playing it on a PC. It is a fun album with good sound and if you are a Hawkfan then you will definitely have to get this.

Originally appeared in Feedback #72, Feb 03

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 Satiricon by SPACE RITUAL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.84 | 4 ratings

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Satiricon
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DAVE M

5 stars This is a band you've gotta see live. One of the best live acts around. Their line-up has changed a bit since this excellent DVD but Nik Turner, Mick Slattery, Thomas Crimble, not forgetting the incredible Miss Angel are still there. This DVD is a very fair reflection of their live capabilities - they do give excellent value for money and put heart and soul into their live set. Cosmic Chant is probably the DVDs only weakness - tends to go on too long and too repetitive but as for the remaining two hours - hang on tight, enjoy the journey, turn up the volumes, in fact plug it into your speakers - sheer energy, passion, great musicianship from Nik and Mick in particular and that great dare I say it Hawkwindesque wall of space effects and sounds.

Both Hawkwind and Space Ritual are constantly touring, which is incredible for both pioneers of the early 70s space rock sound - what a treat it is to be able to see both bands still playing forty years later.

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 Otherworld by SPACE RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.30 | 6 ratings

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Otherworld
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by davidsporle

4 stars Now this is a good album as its got everything youd want from a album with nik turner in it its got flute saxaphone and the sax on this is just what i thought it would be like sounds great and good to,this starts just how it should i think with an instrumental which is just like hawkwind there are tracks on here which are like poems with bits which remind me of warrior at the edge of time and they are the black corridor and arrival in utopia which i love the black corridor because it just sounds just like 70s hawkwind and niks voice here is kind of treated with a kind of good treatment i think makes him sound like he has jumped from how he sounded in the 70s to now,atomik is acoustic guitar and with the weird noices in background and the acoustic guitar here sounds good to a nice bit of guitar i think its mick slattery he sounds here a good guitarist this song is really nice i think,well the rest of the album is just brilliant the whole of this album is so hawkwind well more hawkwind sounding than hawkwind,this actually is better than hawkwind anyday now as new albums go that is cause if u know hawkwind now theve got mr dibs from spacehead in the band and he sounds and looks awful hes fat and his voice is crap at least this album is good and sounds well sounds great sounds bettter than the new hawkwind album thast they will bring out,this is a gem if you like that hawkwind sound with nik turner in as its very 70s hawkwind,i ive this 4 stars as this must be heard by all hawkwind fans for sure.

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 Otherworld by SPACE RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.30 | 6 ratings

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Otherworld
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by alextorres2

2 stars Sadly, I have to say that, three plays in, I don't like this album very much at all.

It was with eager anticipation that I bought it, having heard great things about it from others who were hailing it "as good as Hawkwind have ever been" and such like. Unfortunately, for my taste, this album of "space-rock" falls well short of anything that Hawkwind themselves have ever done.

Space Ritual are a band led by Nik Turner, an ex-Hawkwind icon, and made up of other ex-Hawkwind members, most notable in my memory is Del Dettmar who was in with the band in its 70s heyday.

Whilst it is peculiar to review an album by making constant comparisons to another band, in this particular instance it is probably justified, as many of the potential fans thinking of buying this will also be fans of Hawkwind.

So, space-rock it definitely is but, like I say, for me it falls well short of the Hawkwind standard. The least pleasing aspect of the album is the singing, or lack of it! Most of the lyrics are recited as poems, on some songs we get sing-speak and very rarely, perhaps on one song, is there what I would call "singing". I tired of this style. It is reminiscent stylistically of parts of one of Hawkwind's most celebrated albums, "Warrior on the Edge of Time" - in particular as some of the lyrics are written by Michael Moorcock himself - but on that brilliant album the recitation was interspersed with some glorious music which, alas, is lacking here.

"Otherworld" has none of the driving rhythm, beat and urgency which hallmarks much of Hawkwind's soundscape and that is the factor that ultimately makes the album such a disappointment for me.

The album is not totally without interest - Nik Turner's sax playing is enjoyable on a number of the songs but, unfortunately, isn't sufficient to raise the music overall to the highest levels.

Having said all that, given other Hawkwind fans' differing views, perhaps you'd better make up your own mind on this album's qualities!

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 2001 A Space Rock Odyssey by SPACE RITUAL album cover Live, 2001
2.00 | 1 ratings

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2001 A Space Rock Odyssey
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
2 stars A bootleg quality audience recording of interest to fans because it documents the first two performances by the band that would later come to be known as Space Ritual. Aside from track 8 ('Children Of The Sun') which is a bonus of undisclosed origin, the first 10 tracks are taken from the band's second gig, while the remainder are from the very first show in Birkenhead. The band for these shows was a loose collection of Hawkheads, including Huw Lloyd-Langton who would later cross back to the Brock side of the fence.

Extended jams form the musical backbone, sometimes exhibiting a lack of rehearsal or clarity of purpose. Sound quality of the Ystalyfera tracks is very poor - muddy, with indistinct elements [especially Turner's vocals] and an intensely intrusive audience. At first you wonder if Huwie's guitar is actually plugged in, but he joins the party later on! If you like your music to be hi-fidelity then stay well clear, but there is much to admire in what we can hear of the actual performances. Most tracks start loose and chaotic ['Brainstorm'], and somewhat hit [Langton's 'Waiting For Tomorrow' works well] and miss ['Master Of The Universe' is a mess], but the chaps generally seem to be on good form once they get into their stride - majesty and mayhem in equal proportions!

The remaining four songs represents the band's debut [introduced as 'The Original Hawkwind Reunion Band'!]. Recording quality is much better, at least to start with - good balance, clarity and separation though stereo spread is non-existent! 'Sonic Attack' is a lengthy jam-based rockist version with a loping bass riff, quite different from their usual approach. 'Odyssey Improvisation' is less successful, a sprawling mess with Turner squawking and Langton repeating some underwhelming 'lyrics'. The mix has all gone awry for 'Brainstorm' with Huw's backing vocal being far too loud and the rest descending into mush. Ten Seconds Of Forever' [all thirteen minutes of it!] closes things down in fine style with the band chugging away behind Nik's flute and vocal.

Overall, something of a choppy ride, but often an interesting one and never dull! There is enough here to interest the committed fan, if only to hear completely different interpretations of the songs, and to appreciate how much tighter they have become. For the merely curious, the Venusian Ballroom album is the one to go for.

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 Live At The Venusian Electric Ballroom In The Cygnus 5 Galaxy by SPACE RITUAL album cover Live, 2004
4.95 | 2 ratings

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Live At The Venusian Electric Ballroom In The Cygnus 5 Galaxy
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Until, or unless, the band get their collective heads into gear and release an album of new material [one has been recorded, but ... ], this will remain as Space Ritual's flagship CD. Recorded live, with production work carried out in Dave Anderson's Foel Studio, it is an awesome snapshot of the band's live set in 2004, and a brilliant example of classic blanga. This album can be considered almost definitive, right up there with the genre-defining album from which this band takes its name. There is no hint of dead weight or flaws - just 100% pure gold. Nobody puts a foot wrong, but I do miss Jackie Windmill's vocals!

The whole band is alive and cooking here, from the Ollis's thrashing the skin off their drum kits, John Greves' superb atmospherics and frills on assorted synths, and Crimble and Anderson's authoritative powerhouse rhythm section. Up front, Turner is in fine voice and his sax and flute playing add an essential element to the mix as always, but it is Slattery's lead guitar that grabs the attention. He really is playing a blinder here, his lead runs being both melodic and aggressive and as good as I have ever heard him.

Only a couple of songs may be unfamiliar to fans of Hawkwind's back catalogue - hypnotic opening jam 'Cosmic Chant' is a brilliant way to get things going, followed by Turner's spunky 'Watching The Grass Grow'. From there onwards its classics all the way, taken at average pace in standard Space Ritual arrangements with extensive jams: 'Born To Go' is a thundering powerhouse; a stately 'Dragon Rider' slows the pace with Turner's flute and another superb Slattery solo; 'Brainstorm' kicks up a storm as always, with that instantly recognisable riff; the jaunty, adrenalin fuelled 'Ejection', with its rolling bassline and chugging drums, is dominated by Slattery; the mesmerising 'Sonic Attack' gets the full Greves treatment, turning it into an intense and scary psychedelic trip; the band rip through 'Master Of The Universe' with Turner's sax taking the soloing honours this time; finally, the inevitable 'Silver Machine' opens with Turner's 'Thunder Rider Rap' vocal before the band rock out in fine style with Slattery doing the wah wah guitar.

As a modern update on classic early 70s spacerock material, this CD can hardly be faulted and is highly recommended as a viable and superior alternative to practically anything else out there at the moment, with a tracklist reading almost like a Hawkwind 'Best Of'. Production is excellent too, with a clean, punchy sound letting the detail breathe while simultaneously adding power and weight. The only way forward from here is a set of new songs because this is as good as these old songs will get. Overall, one of the best spacerock albums, and highly recommended.

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 Sonic Savages by SPACE RITUAL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
3.95 | 2 ratings

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Sonic Savages
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars To date this 3 track EP remains the solitary studio output of new material from Space Ritual, which is a great shame because there is enough here to suggest they are more than capable of coming up with the goods on a full length album. The key to good Spacerock is The Riff - these guys are the masters and don't let us down. Title track 'Sonic Savages' is a superb heavyweight mid-pacer firmly rooted in the mid-'70s Hawkwind sound, yet with a modern slant eerily reminiscent of Eloy's 'The Answer' [from Ocean2]. There is such a lot going on in this track: all around are subtleties embedded in the mix, yet it is the riff that ensnares you so that you never want it to stop. Great song!

The weird and spooky 'Ritual Of The Savage Earth' is an inventive modern take on the old 'Sonic Attack' formula, with spoken lyrics over a spacey synth-based soundscape. The percussive 'Jazzy Jam' is slower and heavier than its live equivalent, another spoken word vocal that evokes a languid, 'big sky' emotion. Overall, the overriding feel is of full and busy arrangements, with plenty of invention and stronger keyboard presence than exhibited by the live band.

Almost an essential purchase for all lovers of classic Spacerock, though not easy to find. This is the right stuff alright!

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 Live At Glastonbury And Guildford Festival, 2002 by SPACE RITUAL album cover Live, 2002
2.49 | 3 ratings

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Live At Glastonbury And Guildford Festival, 2002
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars The band refer to this as an 'official bootleg' which kind of focusses one's expectations somewhat closer to the lower end of the quality scale. And we are not disappointed: the sound is thin; some instruments are impossibly distant, especially bass and keyboards; most tracks place Turner far too prominently, to the detriment of everything else; most of the action happens in the centre, with the stereo wings rarely exploited; edits are coarse and sometimes in the wrong place; and presentation is CDR quality.

So - only for fans then, but is it any good? It starts with one long piece inexplicably divided into four tracks but there is no discernable difference between these, other than natural progression. The music centres around a series of monologues and rants, including some of Robert Calvert's lyrics, and Turner's Book Of The Dead translations, set to a generic, vaguely Spacerock, backing track well to the background. Some of the newer lyrics are risible, and the whole thing plods on for far too long. In a well-recorded setting this would probably work, but not here!

The remainder is much better, but the only song presented in full is a decent version of old favourite 'D. Rider', by far the best part of the CD. Both 'Space Grab' and 'Warp Out' are classic Spacerock jams curiously disembodied from their parent songs. 'Warp Out' is the more successful with a much more balanced mix. 'Blue Train' is a decent blues jam session based on a Coltrane tune, while 'Thunder Rider Rap' is mostly Nik introducing the band before reciting his lyrics that are normally an add-on to 'Silver Machine' but here the song is cut before anything further ensues.

Overall, a rather below par effort that doesn't do the band justice. It was recorded and released at the time of the infamous court case with Dave Brock, which could explain the clumsy removal of song sections from jams that clearly follow a classic Hawkwind song. There is enough here to interest a die-hard fan, but others should head straight for the new DVD 'Saitiricon'.

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 Satiricon by SPACE RITUAL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.84 | 4 ratings

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Satiricon
Space Ritual Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Joolz
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Hawkwind's original 'Space Ritual' concept was the defining moment in Spacerock history, immortalized on a classic double album that remains as the pinnacle of the genre. This modern performance of classic Spacerock by the band Space Ritual could almost be considered it's audio-visual equivalent, the DVD that Hawkwind never made. From an introductory countdown through to Nik's solo sax rendition of the 'Inspector Clouseau Theme' over end credits, the band take us on a spectacular journey unequalled in modern times.

At the core of Space Ritual is a bunch of ex-Hawkwind members who have, at one time or another, fallen out with the mother band but who like playing together. They all appear to be having a blast and perhaps as a result put in sterling performances. Nik Turner is a familiar frontman, eccentric as always; Anderson prowls the back of the stage on bedrock bass; Terry Ollis is a blur of flailing arms and sweat; Sam Ollis helps his dad on the bigger numbers, but otherwise provides ineffective scratching on decks; Greves does an excellent job as 'sound manipulator' in place of Del Dettmar who couldn't make the gig; Slattery is probably not the absolute best guitarist in the world but he is perfect for this setting; and Windmill's vocal contribution adds a new dimension to the sound. Good musicians one and all, but together they are simply awesome - as all good bands should be, Space Ritual is better than the sum of its parts.

The sound is universally excellent - punchy, detailed and well mixed with just a hint of an earth buzz a couple of times but nothing serious. The only slight criticism I might venture would be that Crimble's backing vocals are sometimes near inaudible, but I am really scraping the barrel here. The visuals too are stunning - well recorded by a multi-camera outfit, and the editors have done an excellent job to mould the various elements into a hugely entertaining DVD. Live action is accompanied by filmed psychedlic sequences, most of which are being shown on the big screen at the back of the stage behind the performers. These are sometimes superimposed over the live action, only occasionally replacing it.

The cameras never really pan out to see the whole stage, but it would appear to be quite small and compact, as is the audience. The central section, backed by the big screen, is reserved for a pair of female dancers who inevitably form a focal point. While Angel is photogenic and inventive, Debespace is less mobile or imaginative yet has attributes that some viewers will appreciate. Generally, the girls do a good job and are a definite benefit to the production.

Negatives? Minor nit-picking only: some of Debespace's dancing is an acquired taste; there is virtually no audience ambience until near the end; once or twice Nik's timing is a little out; and in the final verse of 'Master Of The Universe' Nik rather loses the plot. Generally, the performances range from stunningly-brilliant ['Brainstorm'] to merely very-good ['Jazzy Jam'] with most falling near the upper end of the range. Of course, it isn't a re-creation of the old 'Space Ritual', but the sound these guys make, and the way they conduct themselves, is modelled on those heady days of the early 1970s and nobody has done it this good for 30 years and more.

Highlights? 'Brainstorm', probably the ultimate piledriver Spacerock riff ever written, is as near to Spacerock perfection as anything is ever likely to get these days. A slow psych lead-in builds anticipation until the riff lets go and we're off into an almost perfect mind-numbing wall-of-sound complete with Slattery's wah-wah guitar and a crazed sax solo from Nik. When it ends, you just want to play it again, and again .... 'Master Of The Universe' is the other classic riff, and this too is a stunningly powerful rendition, despite Nik's dodgy last verse, complete with suitably potty vocals and superb solos from Slattery and Turner.

But it isn't all power riffing. 'Cosmic Chant', one of the few new compositions, is a superbly hypnotic 'tribal chant' with pounding drums, a wash of sound textures and repeated vocal phrases from all three singers that together create a hugely atmospheric opening to the show. Old favourites 'D. Rider' and 'Children Of The Sun' are further examples of songs where sheer power is sacrificed for subtlety and variation, this time in the form of flute. Each of these could equally be considered masterpieces.

All things considered this DVD ought to be a piece of Spacerock history, a masterpiece that really does recreate the vibe of those far-off days while at the same time sounding fresh. Of course it has a flaw or two, but none detract from a viewers enjoyment of a magnificent film. It is such a joy seeing these chaps once more playing the music they were born to play, and doing it really well. Hugely recommended!

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Thanks to Joolz for the artist addition.

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