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Photos by Michael McGrath
After a mere 20-year absence from our bustling cowtown with its burgeoning music scene, Ride returned to Denver last Wednesday to play at Summit Music Hall, in front of what must have been close to a sellout crowd. Needless to say, everyone in the audience was more than pleased to see the elusive but hugely influential, four-piece.
When Ride hit the airwaves with their seminal, explosive, and critically acclaimed debut, Nowhere in 1990, they added a level of beautiful legitimacy to the already waning shoegaze genre in Britain. Mostly due to their superior songsmithing skills and mastery of harmonies and melodies, the mop-headed four-piece quickly outdid their noisy competition. Sadly, their run didn’t last – from 1988 through 1995, they were first together less than ten years – but they’d already left an indelible mark on music. Due to a lack of commercial success – or critical acclaim – for their last two albums in that run, things got tense within the band and led to guitarist/vocalist Mark Gardener leaving the band, soon to be followed by vocalist/guitarist Andy Bell, and the band announced their ultimate demise.
First Denver appearance in more than two decades
Happily, they re-grouped in 2014, to the accolades of fans and critics worldwide, and the four-piece made their way to Denver in two decades, playing a somewhat short but ultimately hugely satisfying and exciting set, covering much of that history. If there was any residue of animosity between the band members, they showed no sign of it through the set and played as if they’d never skipped a practice.
The set featured a brilliant mix of old & new
Most of the set was made up of cuts from the new record – Weather Diaries (their first together in 21 years) – beginning with “Lannoy Point,” a signature piece featuring a droning wall of sound and huge, perfect harmonies. They followed with the beautifully rugged “Lateral Alice,” before launching the first from the seminal first LP, Nowhere, with “Seagull.” The set peaked first
The set peaked with the back to back “Dreams Burn Down,” and “Twisterella,” and then again with their huge hit “Vapour Trail,” followed by the droning “Drive Blind,” before they left the stage.
They encored with beautiful versions of “Leave Them All Behind” and “Chelsea Girl,” before leaving the stage for good. After a twenty-year absence, lthis Denver crowd couldn’t have asked for a better gift from Ride – except maybe another visit with much less time in between.