Ride @ Theatre Fairmount – 18th September 2019

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There’s a moment between songs tonight when Ride frontman Mark Gardener looks toward bandmate Andy Bell; yes, the same guy who played in Oasis for a while…but not the one who sang for Erasure.  He says “it’s nice to be in Montreal, we never came here before…what were we thinking?!”  And it’s an amazing thought – a band who formed way back in 1988 are making their debut in our city tonight.  A Fairmount Theatre packed with grey heads suggests many have been waiting a long time for this too. 

It’s a confident band that books their first show in a city at a 600-capacity venue, especially since they can’t exactly be considered a “pop” band, or a band that had breakthrough “hits” at any point in their career.  And its an even more confident band that blazes out arguably their best-known song just 3 songs in, but that’s what Ride do, with the epic Leave Them All Behind and its 90s-tastic synths and churning bass line.  Cut from an unmistakably Stone Roses cloth, the crowd roars after just a few bars, and then even more so after the huge extended jam that concludes the song.

After Mark professes his love for the venue as well as the crowd – “I’m loving this room, its great, like you’re all around us!” – another set highlight arrives in the form of the slow-burning Eternal Recurrence, which has an epic stadium vibe until it is swiftly obliterated by the furious Taste which follows right after.  Mark and Andy share vocal duties tonight, layering flawless harmonies on almost every one of the 19 songs, showing why Ride were early pioneers of the shoegaze scene back in the early 90s.  In fact, on Repetition, even drummer Loz Colbert gets in on the act, providing a pretty stellar three-way harmony vocal that feels truly gigantic in conjunction with the swirling light beams cutting through the smoke.  Lannoy Point and OX4 are absolutely trademark Ride too.

The main set ends with a spectacular sequence of songs, with the wonderful, unmistakably Britpop Twisterella leading into Vapour Trail and then the stunning Drive Blind.  It a sensory overload by the end, as the song concludes in a swirl of distortion and feedback assaulting the ears in parallel with the flashing strobes that pulverize the eyes and the deep bass that churns the innards.  Kill Switch adds a short, punchy exclamation mark to the main set.

The encore follows a similar pattern, with a moody End Game followed up by a thunderous Seagull, with the bass somehow heavier than the drums – didn’t think that was possible until tonight!  After one final shout-out from Mark to the packed house (“Thanks Montreal, you’ve been amazing!”), Chelsea Girl provides one final thrash-out to close out proceedings after 95 wonderful minutes.  A phenomenal Montreal debut for Ride, 31 years in the making!

Setlist

  • 1.    Jump Jet
  • 2.    Future Love
  • 3.    Leave Them All Behind
  • 4.    15 Minutes
  • 5.    Eternal Recurrence
  • 6.    Taste
  • 7.    Chrome Waves
  • 8.    Shadows Behind The Sun
  • 9.    Repetition
  • 10. Lannoy Point
  • 11. All I Want
  • 12. OX4
  • 13. Twisterella
  • 14. Vapour Trail
  • 15. Drive Blind
  • 16. Kill Switch

Encore

  • 17. End Game
  • 18. Seagull
  • 19. Chelsea Girl

Review and photos – Simon Williams

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