Authors note: having recently chatted with Ride singer/guitarist Mark Gardener from his home in Oxford, I was devastated to discover that our conversation had fallen victim to a technological phone glitch. But the story must go on, so what follows is a general summation of a couple of highlights from our conversation…
Oxford, England has been a well documented breeding ground for some of the most vital and influential alternative musical acts of the past few decades, with names such as Radiohead, Supergrass, Swervedriver, Foals and Glass Animals having all been spawned from the Central Southern England city, home to a modest population of just 150,000.
And September sees us blessed with the arrival of another of the cities favourite sons to our shores for the first time in 25 years, in the form of early 90’s indie legends Ride, who for the past five years have experienced a second renaissance of sorts, following the band’s initial break up back in 2006.
Ride first rose to prominence in the early 90’s off the back of the vocal/songwriting axis of Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, the latter of whom also played for many years in Oasis following Ride’s original dissolution. Their headily smeared twin guitar attack became a vanguard of the so-called ‘shoegaze’ movement, which, combined with the bands trademark, 60’s infused vocal harmonising, drew comparisons to revered acts such as chiming 60’s songwriting geniuses The Byrds (think their lysergic mind-warp of a number, ‘Eight Miles High’) as well as the noisier realm of guitar freakery.
In fact Adam Franklin of fellow Oxford guitar smearers Swervedriver, (who are also about to tour the country), has gone on the record as saying that he views Ride as a cross between The Byrds and proto-punk gods The Stooges. When putting this to Gardener, he informs that the seminal Stooges track, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, was in fact one of the earliest songs that a nascent Ride would jam out in the practice room. They also featured it in the encore of a recent live performance in Ireland. A teenage Gardener and his Ride cohorts were also very much in awe of Franklin’s first band on the Oxford scene, the garage rock channeling Shake Appeal (named after a Stooges song!). These Oxford lads obviously stick tight, with ex-Supergrass bassist Mick Quinn now part of the Swervedriver set up.
Upon asking Gardener if he had any standout recollections of Ride’s last visit to Australia his reflection was positive, enjoying the more relaxed vibe of playing shows with Oz indie titans of the time, Ratcat, following on from the sensory overload of their previous Japanese shows. He also had fond memories of fabulous Sydney guitar pop band The Hummingbirds.
Having delivered a well received comeback album, ‘Weather Diaries’, in 2017, the band have followed it up relatively quickly in the form of the about to be released ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’. The album sees the band both consolidate their original magic while exploring subtle new musical possibilities. On asking Gardener if the new album would feature heavily in the bands set list for the upcoming Australian tour, he hinted that while there would be a smattering of newer numbers, the focus would very much be on representing a solid array of fan favourites from their revered back catalogue. With such a long gap between Australian visits, combined with the fact the many of Ride’s newer fans weren’t even born back when they last toured, the band want to both spotlight the new without neglecting the fact that the much loved past numbers haven’t been heard live in these parts for many an eon.
So whether you’re an original disciple or a relatively new convert, be sure not to pass up the opportunity to catch Ride in all their swooning glory as they preform tracks from across their splendid catalogue this September, playing at The Tivoli, in Brisbane, on Wednesday, 4th September. They’ll also be appearing in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
Tickets available here.