Like a reassuring embrace, guitarslingers Ride strode onto stage at 9:30 Club recently, largely to play songs from a thoughtful new album but also to remind us that smart psychedelic vibes are here to stay.
In August, Ride released This Is Not a Safe Place, the band’s sixth studio album, via Wichita Recordings and Play It Again Sam. And the English quartet arrived with sincere intent to address the message of the new record, dedicating roughly half of their show to it.
Vocalist and guitarist Mark Gardener kicked off the show on Sept. 22 with “Jump Jet” from This Is Not a Safe Place. At the center of the stage, Mark was both familiar and new, strumming a recognizably hazy Ride guitar riff while singing with the weary detachment of the song.
Nearly halfway through the set, Ride played the very memorable new single “Repetition,” an indictment of how “people hate you to change.” The song’s simple message, easy chorus, and focus on repetition was a formula for both rebellion and crowd pleasing.
Stream This Is Not a Safe Place by Ride on Spotify:
Of course, Ride brought along some favorites from their days of shoegaze, notably from their 1990 debut record, Nowhere, and its followup, Going Blank Again. Together, the two albums represent the best of an era, and the eager crowd at 9:30 Club, restfully filling the floor gracefully with elbow room to spare, heard their favorites. “Twisterella!” came a call from behind me, several songs before Ride played Mark’s Going Blank Again highlight. “Seagull!” requested a guy behind me long before the Nowhere single appeared in the encore. Men closed their eyes and faded away while women danced awash in happy memories as each song took them back to a specific place and time.
For my money, you cannot top “Vapour Trail” for a song by Ride, and it closed the main set with vocalist and guitarist Andy Bell leading us deeply into the faded lines of lost time. It remains a bittersweet ode that leaves you with the same vague feeling of loneliness that you experience after a welcome hug has released you.
Here are some photos of Ride performing at 9:30 Club on Sept. 22, 2019. All photos by Nalinee Darmrong, courtesy of RIDE and the 9:30 Club.