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(Credit: Greg Neate)


Listen to remarkable audio of shoegaze pioneers Spacemen 3 performing 'Walking with Jesus' live


With live music nothing but a distant memory amid strict social distancing measures, we’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to revisit some of our favourite acts in action.

At a time when hundreds of thousands should be packing their tents, loading up the beer and donning wellington boots for a reckless weekend at Glastonbury Festival, it’s only fair we provide ourselves with a moment of sonic escapism. Here, we’re revisiting the quite brilliant Spacemen 3.

The band, an alternative rock group born out of Rugby, Warwickshire, in 1982, was formed by principle band members Peter Kember and Jason Pierce—both now known respectively under their pseudonyms of Sonic Boom and J Spaceman.

The group, active for nine years, released four studio albums in total but the first only officially arrived in 1986. It meant that their brand of shoegaze “minimalistic psychedelia” would encounter a fast and furious rise to critical acclaim in just five short years before the group disbanded, a decision which left their avid cult following reeling.

“We went out of our way to control our audience,” Kember once explained of their music. “We purposely, really wilfully made sure that we disenfranchised anyone who might’ve just stumbled upon us. We wanted to make sure, absolutely, that all those people who were there were actually there because they were getting it.

Natural musicians, Spacemen 3 set about creating something different from the get go. Not content with tight and reliable studio recordings, the group were out to change the way rock music was indulged, offering an all-encompassing experience. Having played just a handful of live shows, Spacemen 3 decided to produce a demo tape which would full establish the foundations of the band’s future.

On the 1984 bootleg, created after they made their first studio recordings at the home studio owned by Dave Sheriff in Rugby, Spacemen 3 laid down the very first takes of some of their now-iconic hits. The likes of ‘Come Down Easy’, ‘Thing’ll Never be the Same’ and, of course, ‘Walkin’ with Jesus’ were formed during that session.

Fast forward five years and the band were now a celebrated rock group across Europe. The songs that Spacemen 3 forged in the home studio were now selling out venues in multiple different countries and their music was soundtracking a new movement of a Neo-psychedelia, space rock, shoegaze hybrid.

Here, we look at one specific live show which sees Kember, Pierce and the rest of the band touch down in Koln for a show at the Rose Club. Enjoy bootleg live recordings, below.

Interview: In conversation with Pete Kember of Spacemen 3, Spectrum and Sonic Boom