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RIDE @ The Astor gets 8/10


Ride @ The Astor Theatre

w/ Shiva and the Hazards
Saturday, August 31, 2019

8/10

It’s been 27 years since Ride’s July, 1992 date with the Berlin Nightclub in Perth (remember that place?). Much of their time since – 1996 through 2014 for the most part – was spent in an acrimonious split, while one of the best guitarists of this generation played bass (yes, bass) with Oasis.

That man, Andy Bell, would finally go on to take up guitar again in post-Oasis victory lap, Beady Eye. But seeing him onstage alongside bulked up frontman Mark Gardener in Ride, singing their best songs, is where these shoegaze luminaries belong. Finally, it felt like “Everything in its right place,” as that other great Oxford band once said.

Shiva and the Hazards

Melbourne-via-London outfit Shiva and the Hazards seem to be the go-to Brit rock support act of the minute. Soon to hit the road with Cast, they sound appropriately dreamy on recordings but in concert come across more muscular.

That’s thanks in no small part to lead guitarist Jet O’Rourke, who borrows plenty from Noel Gallagher in his playing, choice of guitars and even his look, giving the Hazards an undeniably Britpop flavour. Finishing on catchy new single Angkor Wat, they presented as experienced-yet-new, with a full sound but the need for more stage presence going forward.

Ride

Arriving to little fanfare as Gardener noted “It took a little time” for their Perth return, Ride launched into Jump Jet from actually-pretty-good new album, this year’s This Is Not a Safe Place, one of four new cuts on the night. The new tracks stood up well in a terrific setlist that included five songs from their seminal debut, Nowhere.

Second track Repetition was the first to bring on those signature overdriven guitar peaks from Bell. In many ways, live in concert Repetition felt like a sequel to 1990’s Dreams Burn Down, a song that sits alongside Ride’s very best and was itself aired a few tracks later. We’d already had the equally heavy, psychedelic Seagull in between, and when Gardener simply said “Welcome to Ride” after Dreams Burn Down it was an invitation to lose yourself in a procession of great songs that kept giving.

Ride

Twisterella was a favourite for many, as was its natural successor, jangly recent single Future Love. A pair of songs from 2017 comeback Weather Diaries featured more electronic embellishments and backing track, but more than a bathroom break they felt like exciting progressions in the Ride catalogue.

The night noticeably lifted from 1992 album Going Blank Again‘s closer OX4 onwards, with Taste then their most enduring song Vapour Trails (sung by Bell) washing over an ecstatic crowd, who were finally getting to hear what they’d waited all these years for.

Ride

Somehow though, it was the perfectly sequenced Drive Blind up next that stole the show. In a breakdown that allowed Bell to show off some of his more adventurous playing, strobes flickered and flashed and the unexpected moment became the night’s high point.

Some might also argue that epic signature track Leave Them All Behind in the encore provided the peak, but for this reviewer the unexpected inclusion of Polar Bear and its How Soon Is Now?-like tremolo guitars was the final act’s finest moment.

Ride

Gardener and Bell might still look like two totally different dudes, but with Ride back making great albums and a live show that brings out the best in both, it’s not hard to see this reunion continuing to grow legs. Who knows, like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, Ride may yet have another truly great record in them, too.

HARVEY RAE

Photos by Adrian Thomson

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