Editorial

Ride

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Why does every article about Ride include an obligatory mention of My Bloody Valentine?

Now the Moth Club knows what it’s like to fly into one of those electrified flycatchers. An onslaught of torrential noise like a tech-rock My Bloody Valentine bursts and glitches from the speakers, a side door opens and the modest musical malcontents of Ride emerge to begin the demolition in earnest. They’re here for a low-key preview of ‘Future Love’ – the first single from their second reunion album ‘This Is Not A Safe Place’ which they blast out straight off, as comfortingly visceral as a fire in Heaven’s attic – but also to brush up on “the old bangers” for a South American tour starting in two days’ time. While they’re at it, they inadvertently remind us what rebel music really sounds like.

There was always a deep frustration in the collapse of first-era Ride. That they’d want to follow a record album as monumental and mind-expanding as 1992’s ‘Going Blank Again’ with something as ordinary as country rock on ‘94’s ‘Carnival Of Light’, and that it all fell apart before they corrected their course. For too long Andy Bell was wasted in the backrooms of Oasis and Mark Gardener made for an ill-fitting acoustic troubadour. Because, as the full, brutal/beautiful force of up-close Ride Mk2 proves, together they can make brain-melting music that utterly belies the cliche of shoegaze bands as mimsy bedsheet-dampeners – these are space rock screes as violent and merciless as any Endgame – and puts the modern pro-pop ‘alternative’ to shame. Were they here to witness Ride’s molten eruptions from the depths of the leftfield, Pale Waves would be as embarrassed to call themselves indie rock as Change UK declaring yet another racist MEP candidate.

It wouldn’t be the NME if everyone due for criticism wasn’t given a kick in the eye on their way out the door. I get the reference to Pale Waves, but what else is new? Don’t call it a reunion anymore. When a band comes back together for a one-off album and tour, that’s a reunion. When you come back for multiple tours, a second album of original material after putting out a remix record and an EP, you are officially just another working band making a go of it.

Ride are one of the hottest tickets in Europe this summer, and they are set to release a new album, This is Not a Safe Place.

Instead of cashing in, they’re making vital new music that is in touch with the times. Instead of looking back, they’re looking forward and they’re on their way to a town near you.

The Church Live at the Heights Theater

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The Church have been on tour again here in the states and they are not to be missed. I cannot emphasize this enough—if they are even remotely close to where you live in the weeks ahead, go see them because this is a band that cannot be equaled in a live setting.

To see them in the relatively small space of the Heights Theater in Houston was one thing. To experience their current live show is another miracle in and of itself. When The Church come to the states for a show, they are as stripped down as possible—there are no extras, no guitars left unplayed, nothing left to the imagination. They present themselves so well you can’t believe they’re not playing arenas.

In the front row, your could see parents with young children, and all I can say is, in twenty years, you won’t see anyone like The Church playing live in that format. Guitar music is fading away, and the level of musicianship is without equal. This is a one-time deal. There is no one playing this way, and no one capable of ever recreating this level of professional achievement. No one else has a catalog like they do as well. And, at no time have they ever really peaked. There are tremendous songs and albums in every decade of their existence.

I would have been happy with all newer songs, but it was great to hear them roar through Starfish in its entirety. The Church are not a nostalgia act. Every song is reworked, reimagined, and experienced anew, and all of the parts are shuffled around. Having heard them live ten years ago, they sound the same but different in all the good ways.

This is still a band that can amaze. Adding Ian Haug to the mix changed the atmosphere but not the spirit of the songs. In a live setting, you are still getting Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes’ versions of the parts and their overall vision of the band. But, really, you need to see Tim Powles on the drums to really appreciate what the band has evolved into. At one point, he is banging away, one handed, and shaking a tambourine in the other. Another moment, and he’s smashing the drums with the tambourine, nothing ever out of place.

If I could change one thing, I would ask them to add Jeffrey Cain as a full member of the band and make it a five piece. Really, he’s more than a utility infielder. His ability to balance guitar, keyboards and vocals makes the whole show complete. He took Marty’s riff on North, South, East & West and ran with it.

This show was worth the drive there and back again. It was the highlight of the year for me in terms of music.

The stage at the Heights Theater, just before the band came out to play

The stage at the Heights Theater, just before the band came out to play

The full band, from L-R: Peter Koppes, Jeffrey Cain, Tim Powles, Steve Kilbey, Ian Haug

The full band, from L-R: Peter Koppes, Jeffrey Cain, Tim Powles, Steve Kilbey, Ian Haug

Steve Kilbey

Steve Kilbey

I don’t take a lot of photos at shows. These were taken during pauses or moments when it was possible to be unobtrusive about it. I definitely do not use a flash and I did not record anything being played.