Shoegazers Ride Salute Debut Album Nowhere in Anniversary Show
Photos by Nalinee Darmrong
Words by Mickey McCarter
Few bands have so exceptional a debut album as Ride, four men hailing from Oxford, England, and their 1990 studio record, Nowhere. The album turned 30 years old back in 2020, but of course no bands were touring during pandemic lockdowns. After some successful shows that took the album on the road, Ride returned to US shores this year on a second leg of a celebratory lap to present the album in full.
In the DC area, Ride performed at The Fillmore Silver Spring in their co-headlining tour with The Charlatans, an excellent pairing that filled the room to the brim.
The tour, dubbed Between Nowhere (combining names of Ride and The Charlatans albums), landed at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Jan. 17, whereupon Ride took the stage after The Charlatans to present the 11 tracks of Nowhere (the original album plus three tracks of the Fall EP) in the order they appear on the extended album.
And so Ride began the show with “Seagull,” a song of revival with lead vocals alternating between frontmen duo Andy Bell and Mark Gardener. The guys seem like salt-of-the-earth chaps who would be great company over a beer, yet they unearth some keenly worded expression throughout their catchy songs. “Seagull” was a strong showcase for both Bell and Gardener, giving them both space to rock and to meditate in fulfilling the demands of each verse.
Following the tracklist of the album, Ride next presented “Kaleidoscope,” which saw a US single release back in 1991. The fast-paced number showcased some formidable guitar work by Bell and Gardener, both of whom gave the song their all.
Watch Ride perform “Kaleidoscope” live for KEXP on YouTube:
As the show progressed, Mark infused “In a Different Place” with true feeling on lead vocal. Later, Andy cast a spell with the mystic “Paralysed,” a wondrous song that really spoke to Ride’s psychedelic roots. Then, Ride played “Vapour Trail,” Nowhere’s best-known song, and the four gents grooved as a tight group, clearly caught in the song’s powerful vibe. Drummer Loz Colbert and bassist Steve Queralt, a deceptively low-key rhythm section, sprang to life for several numbers, and “Vapour Trail” really allowed them to show off a bit.
Before leaving Nowhere behind, Ride surprised The Fillmore Silver Spring by inviting The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess to the stage to play harmonica for “Here and Now,” which thrilled the audience. When two seminal bands from a shared era of music co-headline a tour like Ride and The Charlatans have, there is always the (often unfulfilled) hope that you might see the bands interact in some festival-inspired manner, and Tim’s contribution to “Here and Now” fit the bill and served as a concert highlight.
After performing Nowhere in full, Ride had four song left in them, and of course one of those songs was “Leave Them all Behind” — from their sophomore record Going Blank Again (1992) — which closed the show. But before then, Ride played two new songs — “Monaco” and “Peace Sign” — both hailing from their new album, Interplay, set for release in March. Lead single “Peace Sign” was a killer vibrant number that captures some great Ride energy, and Ride first debuted it live on this very tour at The Fillmore in San Francisco.
I found it stirring that Ride very much had their eyes on the future as they celebrated their past in this really strong show, and look forward to seeing them again when they tour earnestly in support of the upcoming record.
Here are some photos of Ride performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Jan. 17, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Nalinee Darmrong.