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Ride - Roundhouse, London, 23/5/2015

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 25 / 9 / 2015

Ride - Roundhouse, London, 23/5/2015


Anthony Strutt at the Roundhouse watches influential shoegazing act Ride return to the London stage gig after a gap of almost twenty years

Ride were and remain Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, both on vocals and guitars, Steve Queralt on bass and Laurence (Loz) Colbert on drums. They were the first band on Creation Records to take the then hardcore indie label onto the major label chart as well as ‘Top of the Pops’. I first saw the Oxford band as the support act on a Mighty Lemon Drops tour, which, so I have been told, is where Alan McGee first saw them as well. My ex-wife was blown away instantly by them and both by their fine tunes and rather good looks. We saw them lots of times after that, including once at the student venue ULU where they supported the Pale Saints and on another occasion at a secret gig in 1990 where they launched their 2nd EP, ‘Play’. The stage was dripped in daffodils that night like the record's sleeve. As a result of Ride, I also saw Slowdive twice on two nights, which was the dream shoegaze Creation double bill. The band nailed their legend with the release of four killer EPs, which only ever featured one track that made it onto their debut album, 1990's ‘Nowhere’. By the time of their follow-up, ‘Going Blank Again' in 1992, the band had moved on, knowing shoegaze was about to get a kicking from the newly hatched Britpop movement and, more importantly, America's grunge scene which would kill everything before it. Their third album, ‘Carnival of Light’, came out in 1994, and was influenced by 60’s band the Creation, whom by then were on the label which took their name. ‘Carnival of Light’ didn't fair too well, and by the time of their last album in 1996, mostly penned by Andy Bell, Ride were as good as over. On re-listening to it ‘Tarantula’ is a fine album, but the band split leaving no live dates to promote it. It has been a while since I have been to London, and Ride's debut return to a place they spent a lot of time playing is only their third and final date of their too small UK tour. There is one final London show after this where they will be headlining Field Day. When I arrive outside at the Roundhouse, I meet fellow fans, including Mark Taylor who runs ‘The Ride Network’, a fanzine that promoted them back in the day and, having published in its latest edition exclusive comeback interviews with each member of the band, is definitely worth it's £5 price. Within five minutes of the my arrival, the whole band, who have been sound checking inside, leave the venue, and I grab them for autographs and pictures, and, in the process, I chat to Andy Bell while walking down Camden High Street. After chatting to Andy and the rest of the band minus Mark whom is doing press, I rejoin the queue. There is definitely a buzz in the Camden air. When we get inside, the merchandise stall is massive and very appealing, but I can't really focus on the too-expensive-to-buy T-shirts, CDs and record mats for sale. The Roundhouse is very rich in rock music history, the only London venue to host a concert by the Doors with Jim Morrison and then later without him, but tonight it is hosting the reunion of the year. Ride were offered lots of money over the years to reform, and until recently Mark Gardener has told us that it would never happen. Andy Bell is a rich rock star, having toured and written for and been a member of both Oasis and then Beady Eye and also written and toured with Creation band Hurricane #1. Mark formed the Animal House after Ride, and has since released a solo album, ‘These Beautiful Ghosts’ and also just done a new album, ‘Universal Road’ with Robin Guthrie. Steve quit the music industry, while Loz recently played and toured with Gaz Coombes of Supergrass fame. There is a lot of history there. Both Mark and Steve watched Slowdive's first comeback gig, and thought, “If they could do it, maybe we could”, but Andy was at the time still a member of Beady Eye. Now free of any Oasis and Beady Eye commitments, Rie are now back, but can they return to the fame they left behind? Well, in a word, yes. In playing for just over ninety minutes do the band blow us away? The answer is damn right. Do their joint ages show? Not at all. They are still good looking guys, The only difference is Mark wears a hat, From the opening notes of a classic Sean Connery ‘James Bond’ theme to the closing number of ‘Chelsea Girl’, Ride select the best of their back pages, playing six tracks from their debut ‘Nowhere’, seven from ‘Going Blank Again’, and 3/4 of their self-titled debut EP, as well as the title track of their 2nd EP, ‘Play’. They open with a ten minute version of ‘Leave Them All Behind,’ a song with an intro stolen from The Who, This is my dream opener, loud, and proud. The band don't really over sell their shoegaze legacy, but play enough of ‘Nowhere’ and end the night with three out of four songs from ‘Ride’ to please any shoegaze fan, new or old. ‘Drive Blind’ is stunning, a monster then, and played now with My Bloody Valentine loudness making a beautiful ear-bursting delight worth the twenty year wait. Other stand outs are ‘Seagull’, which opens ‘Nowhere’, and ‘Black Nite Crash’, which makes its debut live London appearance being never played here before and is as powerful as anything else they have done. ‘Twisterella’, the second single from ‘Going Blank Again’, is greeted like a lost friend while ‘Vapour Trail’ has the audience singing this back to the band. ‘Chelsea Girl’ closes the only encore and is as short and snappy and as fresh as it was back in 1990, “Stunning” isn't strong enough to describe this show. “Amazing” is still not enough. Thank you, Ride.

Also at Roundhouse, London

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Ride - Roundhouse, London, 23/5/2015

Ride - Roundhouse, London, 23/5/2015

Ride - Roundhouse, London, 23/5/2015

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