Ride performing their Nowhere Tour at Rock City on Wednesday 21st October 2015

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Back in 1990, Ride were the pin up band of the indie scene. The Oxford quartet were at the helm of the briefly huge ‘shoegazing’ movement, so called because the performers stared down at their effects unit, as if they were admiring their footwear. But after a few heady years in the early 90’s, with droning vocal melodies and thundering drums, they had burnt themselves out. Their guitarists Andy Bell joined Oasis and the others firmly faded from view. For fans of the band it was all rather sad.

Whilst Ride became one of those bands at the top of the reunion list, no-one imagined a rebirth would actually happen. But here we are with Mark Gardener and fellow guitarist and lyricist Andy Bell having set aside their differences, Ride are back to showcase their album, Nowhere, with Steve Queralt on bass and some remarkable Keith Moon-esque backing from Laurence Colbert on drums, to deliver a hugely assured and gutsy performance that belied the decades.

The floppy hair styles have gone, in fact replaced in Gardener’s case with a fedora, but the enthusiasm and sheer love for their craft was there for all to see. In a set that was split into two halves, they started by hammering out old favourites from the off. Leave Them All Behind was a killer with The Byrds jangle of Like A Daydream following swiftly on. There was also the lush, indie guitar pop of Twisterella that had grown men in this Rock City crowd punching the air.

If the first half had the audience baying for more, the second half was exhilarating. The band came back on stage armed with a set list of early stuff. EP tracks and their entire first album Nowhere was belted out and the crowd absolutely loved it.

The opening bass rumble of Seagull kicked in, with its frenetic and deafening climax as frontmen Andy Bell and Mark Gardener used shoegaze’s much vaunted pedal capabilities to maximum effect. Kaleidoscope whizzed past with all its pop glory whilst In A Different Place was quite frankly, beautiful.

Vapour Trail with its great guitar riff, addictively rhythmic drumming and poetic lyrics, got the biggest response of the night, whilst Polar Bear was simply euphoric. Taste was another pop classic whilst Here And Now saw Bell take up harmonica duties, before they finished their set with the much demanded Nowhere.

Back on for the classic Chelsea Girl, Ride surprised us all with their 20th and final song; a surprise cover of The Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog then Ride left the stage with Gardener grinning from ear to ear with a clearly thrilled Andy Bell.

It was an absolute triumph, and if they decide never to do it again, for the fans this night will be enough.