#27 ‘Vapour Trail by Ride (15 April)

Album: Nowhere, 1990

Justification: There are certain gigs that I will always regret having missed. Pop Will Eat Itself at Le Rox. The Sugarcubes at the Old Lion. Adorable at Le Rox. Beck at Thebarton Theatre (except for the encore, which I did see). Ride at the Old Lion. Nothing – nothing – will ever make the pain go away. Especially since remembering the Old Lion makes me remember the seven foot tall skinhead who landed on my head during Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s show there and totally fucked my neck up.

But: Ride were touring Going Blank Again and I can’t for the life of me work out why I didn’t go. I must have been familiar with them by then – I’m certain I was sticking ‘Vapour Trail’, ‘Drive Blind’ and ‘Leave Them All Behind’ on mixtapes for friends at this point in my life – but for some reason I missed this show. Was I ill? Did I have exams? Was I just some sort of fucking idiot? All of those explanations seem plausible, but none seem entirely satisfactory.

In any case, I adored Ride from the second I heard ‘Chelsea Girl’ and was still making excuses for them even as they made albums like Carnival of Light and Tarantula which are now and were then objectively awful – of course, little did we know that Andy Bell was to go on to make even more dismal music with Hurricane #1 and finally Oasis. Mark Gardener’s subsequent work has been no great shakes either, granted*, but dear god: for two albums and a handful of EPs, those men made musical alchemy. And this was their shimmering, glacial masterpiece.

So why the hell didn’t I go to the gig?

I want answers, dammit.

*I opened for Mark on his solo acoustic tour in Adelaide and, all mad love of Ride aside, he was kind of terrible. It didn’t help that he was often doing Ride songs where he played his original guitar part rather than rearranging the song. ‘Leave Them All Behind’ was basically a frantically strummed suspended B major chord since all the progression is in the bassline. Try it at home: strum B on a guitar and see if it sounds like ‘Leave Them All Behind’. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.

8 thoughts on “#27 ‘Vapour Trail by Ride (15 April)

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  4. On the scale of one to unbelievable, the Sugarcubes show at the Old Lion was about -5. God awful: the sound was from Hell, or possibly Hell’s hell, so jet-engine-loud sonic homogeneity ruled the night.

    Honestly, you can remove that particular arrow from your torso.

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  6. i was at both ride and sugarcubes gig. i saw it differently. sugarcubes were great, even a version of birthday where everything fucked up and we only had voice and drums to finish the song, which made it kinda special. on the other hand, I remember being bored shitless at the ride gig. and i did like them. but that gig felt flat, to me at least…

    so there ya go.

    R

  7. I got my neck fucked at Neds too. Something the size of a deer blindsided me and I staggered from the frenzied throng with my head at an odd angle to my body. Same guy perhaps? Anyway, Ride at the Lion were the loudest thing I’ve ever heard (outside the Ramones in a shed at BDO 94) and just sublime. Before then my tinnitus was a hobby, after that it was a way of life.

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