Ride (8/10) played The Institute on the final date of their UK tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of their fantastic debut album ‘Nowhere’. Ride split up in 1996, they announced their reunion in November of last year, and have been touring fairly prolifically since. Their set involved a complete play-through of ‘Nowhere’, one of the greatest shoegazing albums of all time.
The band didn’t have a support act, in fact, they opened for themselves, playing a kind of ‘best-of’ set, which included favourites such as ‘Twisterella’ and ‘Like A Daydream’. As they walked on stage the entire room erupted, the atmosphere was incredible, abuzz with people who had been there the first time and couldn’t wait to see their favourite teenage band play again. I even began to feel nostalgic for a time I’d never even experienced. Opener ‘Leave Them All Behind’ was so big and so loud that you could feel the bass in the backs of your teeth. In hindsight, the first half of the set lacked the passion and drive of the second set, but it was still a fairly majestic set.
Ride tore through their much-loved debut ‘Nowhere’ with plenty of reverb and thrashing guitar, they were building up to something very special indeed. The swirling lightshow against the backdrop of their album artwork was gorgeous, only amplified by the shimmering guitars and delicate vocals of ‘Polar Bear’, which was one of the highlights of the night. Ride are brilliant on record, but dropped into a live environment and the songs become colossal. ‘Dreams Burn Down’ was quite frankly beautiful, it grew into an echoey, spaced out dream. It was at this point that the crowd began to move as one, middle-aged moshing to the band that soundtracked their youth, the adoration from the crowd seemed to spur the band on even more. After a majestic performance of ‘Vapour Trail’ there was supersonic guitar thrashing for around ten minutes, it was so loud I’m sure I developed tinnitus. The set ended with title track ‘Nowhere’, which was fairly far removed from the studio version, it was euphoric and intoxicating. The encore included a rip-roaring version of ‘Chelsea Girl’ which left my ears ringing after the pure wall of sound it created, the drone stayed with me for hours after the show. For me, Ride are a band that are only going to improve, here’s hoping they release some new material and head out on another tour, because I’d love to see them again.