Ride @ Rock City, 21/10/15
1990. Most likely before The Mic members were born. An important start to a decade which, musically, was defined by the rise of Britpop. The year saw the emergence of Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web. And big events such as Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, the reunification of Germany and the downfall of the Soviet Union, UK’s Poll Tax riots and the end of Thatcher’s reign as Prime Minister. On a less grand scale, but still significant, 1990 saw the launch of the Hubble space telescope, which is now changing the way we understand the Universe, the beginnings of the globalisation of McDonalds, with stores opening in Russia and China, and, heartbreakingly, Gazza’s World Cup. And on 15 October 1990, two more things happened: Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for efforts in bringing about (for the time being at least) the end of the Cold War. And UK indie / shoegaze band Ride released their first album, Nowhere, on Creation Records. It was quite a year – ask your parents about it! And over the next four years or so, Ride recorded three more studio albums, Going Blank Again, Carnival of Light and Tarantula, before going their own ways in 1995.
25 years later, Ride are back in a near sell-out in Nottingham’s Rock City, celebrating the anniversary of the release of Nowhere. Providing their own support with a stellar setlist drawn from their other EPs and albums, the band push back an early 7.15pm start for fifteen minutes or so, to allow more fans to get to the venue on time. Opening with a near 10-minute version of Leave Them All Behind, Mark Gardener (vocal / guitar), Andy Bell (vocals / guitar), Steve Queralt (bass) and Loz Colbert (drums / vocals) got into the stride and moved seamlessly into Like a Daydream. Half a dozen more songs followed over the next 45 minutes or so, including the wonderfully upbeat Twisterella, and the first set finished with a powerful rendition of Mouse Trap.
After a short turnaround, Loz Colbert led the band back on stage, opening the Nowhere set with Seagull. The album’s original playlist was maintained throughout; highlights being Polar Bear, and the album’s original last track, Vapour Trail. Three more songs on the CD version, Taste, Here and Now, and an incredible performance of Nowhere (not on the original version of the album in spite of lending the album it’s title) ended the second set.
Ride may have reformed as recently as April 2015, with a gig in hometown Oxford’s O2 Academy, followed by short US then UK tours encompassing at least Coachella Festival, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Glasgow, Manchester and London, but it didn’t show. They were on form in Nottingham, and delighted the frenzied crowd with a seemingly never-ending Drive Blind, with an amazing light show by top lighting engineer, Dan Hardiman. Chelsea Girl, the opening track on their first EP release, closed a fabulous 21-song gig.
After the gig, I chatted with Ride bassist, Steve Queralt, and asked about the seemingly decreasing age profile of people at gigs that I’d seen over the last six months, since the Oxford and Manchester gigs, with lots of students attending. Steve agreed: “I’ve been amazed at the number of people at the shows who are clearly too young to remember Nowhere from 1990. Some were not even born when the album was originally released which is hugely satisfying for us to see. You just have to scan the first few rows each night and you’ll see all sorts of people who are not just curious onlookers but fans who have fought their way to the front. Perhaps there is a future for our music after all”.
So, there you have it. Check out these links to listen to and watch and listen to some more of Ride.
Photos & Review by Shaun Gordon @_SGphotography