Monday, 3 September 2018

Memories of 2018 gigs #4

Support: Flowers
Tramshed - 1 September 2018

It was some 28 years ago that I first saw Ride on the original 'Nowhere' tour. A couple years later I saw them again at the Reading Festival. Neither time did they blow me away, they were just 'alright'. In the intervening period, the band released two more albums, fell out spectacularly and broke up. Andy Bell was by far the busiest, forming Hurricane #1, before joining Oasis and Beady Eye, becoming indie-rock pedigree. A Ride reunion seemed extremely unlikely, yet it not only happened when 'Nowhere' turned 25, but they went on to make a very, very decent new album. Differences reconciled, Ride are not only back, but they really seem to be enjoying themselves again.

The Tramshed surprisingly wasn't sold out, and when we got there it was practically empty. The place began filling up slowly whilst support band Flowers played. The London trio (signed to Fortuna POP!) are what would no doubt be described as dreampop in a Cocteau Twins/Slowdive kind of way. Except I found Flowers to be, well, not as good as either. Maybe their minimal line-up is the reason they sounded quite one-dimensional, but I did get rather bored by track three. Perhaps their studio work holds more promise - I shall investigate - but their live sound perhaps doesn't give them the range their songs demand.

Ride have no such issues. Even though there is a clear variation in their sound through each era, Ride manage to perfectly integrate the new and the old with ease. Which is why new songs like Lannoy Point, Pulsar and All I Want sit comfortably alongside early classics like Chelsea Girl, Taste and Vapour Trail. Notably, there's nothing from the 'troubled period' of the third and fourth albums, but aside from one or two songs from 'Carnival of Light', that's no great loss. Most of the set, in fact, concentrated on songs from the first and last albums.

Vapour Trail was augmented by the crowd who hollered the strings part at the song's conclusion. Charm Assault pummeled the living daylights out of us. Seagull soared, Twistarella tantalised and Weather Diaries rained sunshine on Cardiff's middle-aged shoegazers. But the undoubted highlight for me, perhaps predictably, was Leave Them All Behind, a monster of a song made flesh.

A squalling, extended Drive Blind closed the main set, a song that I'd almost forgotten about but which was always my fave on the debut EP. MrsRobster observed that Ride played for 90 minutes yet it seemed much shorter. That's a good sign, of course, and it made me realise that Ride are an exceptional live act that I clearly didn't appreciate enough first time around. Here's hoping they stick at this reunion lark for a while longer.


  1. I also saw Ride on the original 'Nowhere' tour as well as the 'Going Blank Again' tour a couple of years later, both at the pretty large Norwich UEA. After reforming, they played the substantially cosier Norwich Waterfront in 2015, which I passed on for some reason. After hearing a few live bits and bobs over the past couple of years, I kicked myself for that missed opportunity. After reading your great review I'm kicking myself all over again.

  2. Maybe Ride are better now than they were back then. Doesn't happen often.