Canberra shoegaze proponents, Moaning Lisa are priming the punters with feedback drenched guitar soundscapes courtesy of lead guitarist Ellen Chan. Vocalist and bassist Charlie Versegi announces an untitled song released a month ago, daring the crowd to come up with a title. Seamless harmonies care of Versegi and Hayley Manwaring on vocals / guitar, Hayden Fritzlaff hitting those skins with abandon, with a backdrop of ethereal guitar distortion, care of Chan, win the band new fans at the Forum tonight. Whilst Moaning Lisa are very happy to be on stage supporting Ride, they hold their own.
On the 15 th October 1990, Ride released their debut album Nowhere. Hailed as a shoegaze masterpiece, and one of the best albums of its genre, the jangly, reverb laden album is being played in its entirety tonight as a postponed 30 year anniversary of its release.Ride last performed at the Forum in 2019, showcasing new material off This is Not a Safe Place. As the psychedelic squall of guitar feedback swirls and oscillates, in the first few bars of “Seagull,” the first track on Nowhere the mood feels different. It’s as though we’re transported back to The Palace in 1992, when Ride first played in Melbourne. Ride’s debut album, Nowhere started with an image of a non-crested wave and this mood of freedom and escapism permeates the album, with themes of the ocean such as that in “Seagull.” Mark Gardener and Andy Bell are singing in perfect harmony and Bell is creating epic soundscapes with his effects pedals. Jangly guitar-pop driven “Kaleidoscope” is next and it’s clear they’re playing “Nowhere” from start to finish in order. We’re going to slow down now to catch our breath, quips Bell and third track on the album “In a Different Place” offers respite from the sonic assault on our senses.
“Dreams Burn Down” showcases Liz Colbert’s jaw-dropping drumming, with Steve Queralt on bass crafting a high fidelity bottom end.
I’ve always been a devoted fan of Ride from when I first heard “Vapour Trail” on Rage in the 90s and saw them live on their first Melbourne tour in 1992, but tonight I’m completely awestruck at how good they are. Their performance surpasses my wildest expectations. Other punters look as enthralled as I am. Bell’s intense workout on effects pedals summons the guitar tech to put them back in working order.
“Vapour Trail” with its ethereal dreamy soundscapes transports us back to earlier times, the omission of strings is almost unnoticeable, lulling the throng into submission.
Ride are playing the expanded Nowhere album tonight since the original CD release did not include “Unfamiliar.” The original vinyls and cassette releases only contained eight tracks, so the inclusion of bonus tracks tonight is lapped up by the crowd.
The seven song encore, is replete with hits. “OX4” off Going Blank Again is a reference to the bands Oxford postcode where they resided in their teenage years, and is met with enthusiasm from the crowd. Upbeat number “Twisterella” sees the punters dancing in unison and the masterful, effects laden “Leave Them all Behind” is a crowd favourite and one of my favourite songs of all time. Ending with their first single fast-paced guitar driven gem “Chelsea Song” we’ve come full circle to the start of Ride’s career. Fans will need to wait until next year for the Anniversary show of “ Leave Them all Behind” as promised by Gardener.
Ride took us on a sentimental journey with their well crafted songs, replete with ethereal imagery and guitar soundscapes that have stood the rest of time, and for me personally, tonight was one of the best shows of 2022.