Review: Ride @ Forum Melbourne

Ride played Forum Melbourne on 30 November, 2022.
Bron is a Melbourne-based science journalist who loves to return 'home' to a band room any chance she gets. She has 25 years' experience and has worked for Rolling Stone, Blunt, The Sydney Morning Herald, JUICE and many more.

British shoegaze icons Ride last toured Australia in 2019, playing Melbourne in September that year; so a return trip three years later – on paper – doesn't seem all that remarkable.

However, there was something special about the show tonight (30 November) at Forum Melbourne; it was the band's 30-year anniversary tour for debut album and landmark shoegaze genre set 'Nowhere'.

The sold-out crowd was once again filled with both locals and international tourists, and Moaning Lisa were in support. Also, Melbourne had been in lockdown for 22 per cent of the time between gigs, but who's counting?

Speaking of Moaning Lisa, the Canberra-born Melbourne-based act might have seemed like a surprising choice for support, but once onstage they showed why they were the perfect fit.

The band's presence and sound are made for a big stage. Two months ago they played a small, warm-up show to about 100 people at a bar in Thornbury; tonight they looked right at home at the Forum, and respect to the fans hanging out under the front speakers, because there was nothing turned down for the support.

By the time Ride hit the stage, at the very respectable midweek gig time of 9.15pm, the Forum's dance floor was packed so hard only the shamelessly brave would try to enter.

But testament to the sound and also the amazing venue, even latecomers could get a good spot to see the band roll out their 1990 record, which was quite special.

After openers 'Seagull' and 'Kaleidoscope', frontman Mark Gardener warned of three slower songs: 'In A Different Place', 'Dreams Burn Down' and 'Polar Bear', arguably the three best songs on the record behind epic closer 'Vapour Trail'.

There weren't many surprises in the set, with the band playing 'Nowhere' from start to end, but shout out to the light and sound crew, because this team was easily the star of the show.

An encore wasn't guaranteed, but a lot of fans would have hoped for the big tunes from 1994's 'Going Blank Again'; and that they got upbeat single 'Twisterella' and then eight-minute album opener 'Leave Them All Behind'.

The guitars were crisp, the bass was heavy, the drums were formidable and fans couldn't have had a better end to the night. Maybe they could have, if they hung out for a few hours across the road at Federation Square for the Socceroos win over Denmark.

While Gardener and co-frontman Andy Bell have had many other musical pursuits since the 1990s – Bell with Hurricane #1 and then Liam Gallagher's ill-fated Beady Eye – it's their union and work with Ride that still resonates 30 years on.

Although it might seem like a vanity project with Ride phoning it in, people on the 11 tram home excitedly talking about shoegaze bands from a time they weren't even born, suggests their place on a big stage is still important.

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