“RIDE Charms Cali”
Written by Jason Reed
September 28, 2017
A few years ago I had the chance to interview RIDE’s Mark Gardener when he was playing an intimate solo show in Santa Barbara, CA, where I speculatively predicted the band’s reformation as a headliner at the Coachella Music Festival, only to have my prediction become a reality soon thereafter:
I then chatted with both Mark and Andy Bell poolside before their concert at Humphrey’s in San Diego, discussing the band’s reformation and critically acclaimed series of shows in 2015:
However, despite my familiarity and longtime appreciation of the band, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer brilliance of seeing them perform material off of their superb album “Weather Diaries” at their Fillmore, San Francisco show on Tuesday September 26, 2017. In fact, it was the addition of this new material that stood as official confirmation that RIDE is very much a band of revitalized relevance, with their feet firmly planted here in the 21st Century.
Released just a few months ago, their new album (their first in 21 years) is bound to be included in many music critics’ “Best of 2017” lists, and for good reason. It is an album that (if Spotify statistics are any indication) includes a few of their most popular tracks in their discography, including new singles “Charm Assault” and “Cali,” Even if RIDE puts out more brilliant albums in the years to come, there is little doubt that these songs will become standards in their live setlists in the future, worthy companions alongside classic RIDE songs such as “Vapour Trail” and “Chelsea Girl.”
Opening for the band was L.A.’s Lo Moon. Singer Matt Lowell’s vocal style provided a crooning Bryan Ferry-esque aesthetic to the mix while guitarist Samuel Stewart (son of the Eurythmic’s Dave Stewart) provided adept guitar licks as the band rocked through a strong set of compelling songs.
By the time RIDE took the stage, the audience was already in a state of elation, ready to experience the loud and beautiful aural experience that was to come. And that they did, as the band ripped through a 16 song set that brought smiles to the faces of all in attendance. Highlights included new songs “Lannoy Point,” “Lateral Alice” and “Weather Diaries” alongside RIDE classics “Drive Blind” and “Dreams Burn Down.” It’s always a good thing to hear Andy Bell on vocals so I was particularly fond of their impassioned rendition of geographically relevant feel-good anthem “Cali,” with its buoyant chorus and uber catchy guitar hooks. Also, on a more somber note, Mark paid tribute to former RIDE drum roadie Andy Mathews who sadly passed away a few days earlier, before performing their final encore set.
As audience members, we were lucky to be in the passenger seat during this figurative musical “ride,” able to look both in the rearview mirror at their impressive legacy, while also directing our attention forward on their current musical journey through “Cali” and beyond….
If you, too, would like to witness this band’s compelling and charmng musical assault firsthand, be sure to check them out at one of the many legs of their world tour. For more information, and to purchase a copy of “Weather Diaries” go to their official webpage here.