Engine Rooms, Southampton


With yet another leading light of the Indie scene back together and recording again, it was a no-brainer that we attend this show just along the coast. Ride are back and in original mode, and not a day too soon. Support tonight comes from Brighton-based The Wytches.

The last time I saw The Wytches was in a packed pub venue in Bournemouth, playing to an enthusiastic crowd of mosh-hungry student types – I remember it well. Tonight, however, it is completely different. Whereas before it was a pure wall of noisy Grunge, tonight it’s more stripped back – melodic even. I wish I could pinpoint a genre to apply to them, but Shoegaze doesn’t do them justice in any other form than their stage persona. Kristian (vox/guitar) appears to be having sound problems from the get go and his vocal is largely unintelligible. Whether deliberate or on purpose, it is lost on me. The bludgeoning wall of noise is apparent from their second number, and only when Mark (guitar/keys) switches to keyboard is there any let-up. Gianni (drums) keeps a fine beat and Daniel (bass) is no less proficient, but after eight years together one wonders where their sound will take them. Stuck in a car crash of Psych/Garage/Grunge/Surf Rock influences I’m reminded of fellow East Sussex scenesters ’80’s Matchbox’ – but only briefly. To lift themselves above the competition I feel they need to be less ordinary and write some killer songs, which on tonight’s evidence have so far eluded them. I wish them well.

The Wytches
The Wytches 123456

And so to the headliners. Ride need no introduction and tonight’s sell-out crowd would support that. The line-up is 100% original and the set a mix old and new. After a very loud intro song they launch into new material from most recent LP “Weather Diaries”. “Lannoy Point” is fantastic with Andy Bell’s (guitar/b.vox) chiming guitar notes matched to Mark’s (vox/guitar) still strong vocals. The years may have affected his locks, but not his vocal! “Charm Assault” comes next, staying in a similar vein. Loz’s (drums) hitting is expansive and energetic in equal measure and those chiming chords feature once more. “Seagull” is the first oldie tonight and again doesn’t disappoint. Tonight’s audience are much less energetic than back in the early nineties, happy to just shoegaze – we’re all so much older now! The title track from the new album “Weather Diaries” takes the tempo right down, but is no less enjoyable. Mark’s vocal is note perfect and you can decipher virtually every lyric. Only on “Dreams Burn Down” does Andy appear to encounter some guitar glitches, but midway through the song all is good. It’s an early set highlight and if anything, slower than the original. Strangely their crew have forgotten Mark’s setlist – Steve (bass) is on hand to remedy this minor mishap. Mark humorously shrugs it off and they proceed with the show. “Lateral Alice” invokes memories of the Going Blank Again era in the song’s tempo – chiming guitars set to a chugging drumbeat and a bouncy, poppy vocal. “From Time To Time” is the only cut from Carnival of Light this evening while “Catch You Dreaming” featured on February’s “Tomorrow’s Shore” EP. It’s a bouncy little number with a Summery feel, Sixties-inspired I feel.

At this point, we reach the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the set with all the big hitters coming out. Mark announces “this is a song from a long, long time ago”. “Leave Them All Behind” is (to date) Ride’s biggest hit, and tonight in the confines of this venue sounds huge. I have retreated to the bar area by now but it still sounds immense. “All I Want” is the last newbie in the main set, simply setting up the brilliant “OX4”. “Taste” is given a rebirth on tonight’s performance, markedly more bass-heavy but no less enjoyable, before they leave us on a rousing wall of sound with “Drive Blind”.

Ride 123456

After a ninety-minute set, one could have forgiven them only encoring one or two numbers, but we get four. “Polar Bear” takes us right back in time and sounds just as it should, swirling guitars and cymbal-led hitting. Mark’s vocal sounds almost heartfelt. “Pulsar” brings us back up to date before the wonderful “Like A Daydream” with its swirling guitars and chunky bass. They were only ever gonna end on a classic. They depart us on “Chelsea Girl” and we all depart happy.

I don’t for one minute think Ride are back just for the money. “Weather Diaries” would suggest a creative streak is still burning deep in the minds of this Oxford quartet. And while they can still pull a decent sized crowd, one hopes they stick around a little longer. At fifteen minutes shy of two hours they certainly gave us our moneyís worth. This wasn’t just some “trip down memory lane”, Ride (I feel) are here for the long haul. Let’s hope so!

Set List
Lannoy Point
Charm Assault
Weather Diaries
Dreams Burn Down
Lateral Alice
From Time to Time
Catch You Dreaming
Leave Them All Behind
All I Want
Dive Blind

Polar Bear
Like A Daydream
Chelsea Girl


Words by Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures by David Chinery

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