The Charlatans Brought Madchester to the Wiltern: The British indie scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s was spread much further over the UK than it is often given credit for on this side of the Atlantic. An obsession with Factory Records, Joy Division/New Order, the Haçienda and the 24 Hour Party People movie has led many to believe that it started and ended in Manchester, or “Madchester,” but that city was just one hub.
Ride, for example, are from the college town of Oxford. Other bands from Oxford include Radiohead and Supergrass — not a bad local pedigree then. Ride formed in 1988, two years after Radiohead and five years before Supergrass. All three sound very different though, with Ride coming from the shoegaze end of the indie rock spectrum.
Their first two albums, Nowhere and Going Blank Again, are widely hailed as classics of shoegaze, alongside My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and anything by Dinosaur Jr. But even their post-reunion albums — 2017’s Weather Diaries and 2019’s This is Not a Safe Place — are great.
At the Wiltern on Saturday night, Ride focussed heavily on Nowhere, with a couple from Going Blank Again and one from Weather Diaries. The whole thing was lush and thick, very different to the headliner set still to come. The dreamy quality to songs such as “Kaleidoscope” and “Vapour Trail” is beautifully hypnotic, densely melodic and indisputably heavy. The whole set gels together seamlessly, and by the end Rode has the sold out crowd swaying uncontrollably.
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