Five gigs, four cities, three bands and a soundcheck

Ride at Glasgow Barrowlands

After twenty years my favourite band played their first UK dates this weekend, tickets had been booked along with hotels and trains last year so it was with much excitement I set off for Glasgow early Friday morning.

We had a rehearsal at the beginning of April when a group of us got to see the band in Oxford at the old Co-Op Hall, however these are the big stages they are playing now with more than a few anoraks in attendence. If you don’t know about that gig, I wrote a piece over here.

Ride at Glasgow Barrowlands Fri 22nd May 2015

On a rare trip away for me that didn’t involve work or family I was on the train to Glasgow when things got a lot better “Soundcheck is at 3.15, what time are you arriving?” Fortunately the train arrived at 2.30pm with enough time to check-in at the hotel, drop off the luggage and head straight to the Barrowlands.

With a promise of no tweeting we were treated to an eight song set including a load of new tracks to the setlist that hadn’t been aired before on the current dates. A quick check of the new merch, a couple of pints and a reasonably priced gourmet burger off a tin tray (just give me a plate) and we were back in the venue for the real gig.

Ride at Glasgow Barrowlands

From the second the band walked on stage it was obvious that little has changed since their ‘Going Blank Again’ tour of 1992, it really did feel like business as usual with everyone dancing as if the last 20 years hadn’t happened. The Barrowlands was a great venue, looking like an old dancehall it would be ideal for a northern soul night.

The band opened with ‘Mouse Trap’, the same as the old Daytripper gigs, and blasted through a set to keep any Ride fan happy. We all stumble back to the hotel in slight shock that things went so well for the band.

Ride at Manchester Albert Hall 23rd May 2015

Walking round Manchester on a Saturday afternoon I suddenly realised my last visit to the city centre was to see the Happy Mondays and 808 State at the G-MEX in 1990. Manchester looked very different then, it was grey and rainy but more importantly it hadn’t been rejuvenated, there weren’t even the trams then.

The Albert Hall was around the corner from the old G-Mex in a converted chapel and the local pubs were packed. Fortunately we found a miserable empty pub playing 80s disco with a really rude landlady, we felt straight at home there.
Ride at manchester Albert Hall

Just before stage time we headed into the venue with hardly any room to breathe, it was so packed. The venue was also strange with light beaming in through the windows, but as soon as the band came on stage all worries were gone as the Manchester crowd were even more enthusiastic than the Glasgow audience as the video below shows. They were near riotous in their appreciation and the looks on Mark Gardener and Andy Bell’s faces clearly showed how much they were enjoying it. Another slight change to the set list tonight with ‘Leave Them All Behind’ as the opener and a track from Carnival of Light ‘Natural Grace’ making an appearance.

Ride at London Roundhouse 24th May 2015

Night three on our Ride road trip and London’s Roundhouse is by far the biggest venue on the tour. A quick walk around Chalk Farm and you’ll see a stream of middle aged blokes in band t-shirts. Surprisingly for London there were no arms folded or people chatting throughout the whole show, instead we saw stage diving and near euphoria again. Boring Britpop journalist John Harris must have been furious that the bands he tried so hard to kill off during the mid 90s are now bigger than ever and the thousands who attended all the Ride gigs were overjoyed, a truly triumphant return we’re unlikely to see again, I enjoyed these Ride gigs so much more than the terribly organised The Stone Roses shows.
Ride at London Roundhouse

I’ve waited 20 years for any new Ride gigs and now I feel like sulking as I have to wait a whole two weeks to see them again at Field Day.

East India Youth at Norwich Arts Centre 25th May 2015

So it was back to Norwich feeling very tired, but today Noewich were at Wembley for the Championship playoff and the city was like a ghost town. Therefore it seems a strange day to play a gig, and East India Youth who’s debut album has been played to death by me, was in town. It would take a lot to surpass the celebratory experience of the Ride gigs but tonight’s one man set was really impressive, at times he’s playing bass, drums and keyboards by himself and Dan Tombs excellent visuals really add to the set.
East India Youth at Norwich Arts Centre

Swervedriver at Norwich Arts Centre 26th May 2015

Another band who I first saw back in 1990 were Swervedriver, then they were playing a pokey venue in Camden and tonight they are promoting their fifth (and best) album and are back on form.

My first ever trip to Norwich Arts Centre was to see Supergrass back in 1994, sadly they didn’t turn up! Tonight Mick Quinn of that band finally made it on the stage as part of Swervedriver. Blasting through tracks from the last 25 years, they include a heap of tracks from the new album and even ‘Rave Down’ and ‘Son of a Mustang Ford’ from their 1991 debut. Although the sound was a little muddy this was compensated with volume, despite my body telling me to go to bed this was a great set. It’s easy to see why so few new bands are coming through at the moment when the older bands are still so good.

Swervedriver at Norwich Arts Centre

Today I mowed the lawn, did some washing and took my son out for lunch. Rock ‘n’ Roll!

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