Here & Now - "All Over The Show" (Charley Records 1979, NOW 2) LP
From Aural Innovations #3 (July 1998)
I'd assume most SpaceRock fans are familiar with Here & Now, most likely via their association with Daevid Allen, whose current Gong has contained both Bassist Keith Bailey and Guitarist Steffy Sharpstrings. On their own, these are quite creative folks as evidenced by their string of great LPS, numerous free concerts, and legendary onstage mayhem!
"All Over the Show" was recorded during one of the many free tours the band did in the late 70's. Listeners were asked to pay what they could afford to see the band, admirable attitude in the face of (then) rising UK concert Ticket prices!
So the date opens with Keith complaining about a very hot stage, which gets to inferno temps when they roll into the first number, "THINK FOR YOURSELF", a really intense rocker given great treatment by the band, ballsy upfront SpaceRock which helps pound a rather important message into the punter's brains! This version of Here & Now featured some nice Twin Guitar work by Steffy & Bernie Elliott, especially nice slide work from the latter "OPEN DOOR" is next, displaying some almost punk tempos from the band, and I'm actually partial (despite long standing antipathy to vocals in general) to the vocals on this. They've got something to say! More slide stuff over a rockin' ostinado from Mr. Missle, and ace keyboard work by Gavin da Blitz, "70S YOUTH" is a tale of caution no one seems to have heeded. Note the sympathetic band track behind the vocals, and upbeat playing from Drummer Rob Bougie. We shoulda forgot the Yippie/Punk rage and learned about how to make revolutionary change!
"SURGEON'S KNIFE" has another great vocal (kudos for not singing "da Blooze", guys!), and a jam that moves into outerspace quickly, the guitar trade offs in the tag pushing it up, and very prescient of a sound the Ozrics would explore 4 years later!
"LITTLE THINGS" is built around an oddmeter riff, and the lyrics about finding little pleasures right around us! Again lovely interaction between Missle and the Drums, and first class Synthwork!
"ONLY WAY" is a ballad, a lament about not being able to be considered commercial, and what creative players go through to work the bland middle ground of the "Pop" music mainstream. The tune reminds me of some very old STRAWBS, although the vocal is merely tolerable.
"JAM" takes us back into the heights, as the band is restrained by the confines of the studio, as they were when the tune was recorded for the first LP! Again, the interplay is fine, the Rhythm section solid and tight but loose!
"END OF THE BEGINNING" was the standard set closer in this era, unfortunate as this is a band you'd want to keep on playing! Again great vocals here, and Keith's thanks to an ecstatic audience is sincere & heartfelt, and the audience thanks the band with a tremendous ovation!
HERE & NOW are a vital link between the 80's (Ozrics/Krel/Wooden Baby) SpaceRock, and the older brothers (Gong/Hillage/Hawkwind) of the late 60's/early 70's, and functioned at a time when the Rock media was preoccupied with "Little Johnny Wannabes", Disco, Brian Ferry imitations, and proto Fascistic dumbRock! They're still functioning in the UK, the last release was 1993 and I understand a new release is planned for 1998!
I have no idea whether this LP was ever released on CD. Even if not, find it and reward yourself with top-notch sounds, and increase your knowledge of SpaceRock lineage. Oh yes, I enjoy the cover a lot as well, a collage that communicates the band's consciousness very well!
Reviewed by Doug Walker