One of the things I love about this year of 50 shows is that my friends are so generous in sharing their music and concert experiences with me. In keeping with that spirit, I believe that it is my duty, obligation and responsibility to say yes when asked. And, I have yet to be disappointed.
Last night, my good friend Michael invited me to join him and others to see Ride at the TLA. Michael has this group of, besides being some of the greatest guys I know, friends who see a lot of music that I have literally never heard of. Bands, that at times, I think they are making up just to mess with me. Ride was no exception.
I love the TLA. This intimate (capacity around 800), but mighty club, on South Street was one of the first clubs I went to see live music when I moved back to Philly in the early 90s. It just feels rock and roll. At least, that is my positive spin on a club where the bathrooms have never been updated, the floor is always, I mean always, sticky and you can barely see in front of you it is so dark. And that is when the lights are on. That being said, I rarely turn down an invite to see a show there.
I did not do any research before the show except to ask people if they had heard of Ride. The most common response as “yea, they still playing?” Then, “they are shoe gazers.” According to Wikipedia- “shoegazing (also known as shoegaze) is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and reached peak popularity in the early 1990s. The term “shoegazing” was initially devised by the British music press as a gibe meant to ridicule the stage presence of groups of the period, who stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, often with their heads down.”
Someone described them as a psychedelic band and one should consider wearing earplugs during it, since they are so loud. What? That doesn’t make sense to me. Hmmm. At this point, I am convinced they are not a real band. In fact, I am starting to think that they are like that band in the movie “High Fidelity” that the clerks would ask you if you liked, just so they make fun of your lack of obscure band knowledge. An inside baseball game type of band. So, imagine my surprise when the show was sold out and the place was packed. It should also be noted that if you saw these guys in the late 80s, you were ahead of time, now they were presented by XPN and you can buy earplugs in the lobby. Sigh.
The bottom line is I really liked these guys. And a lot. Still unclear how I would classify them, but they knew their stuff and played incredibly well together. I found myself dancing almost immediately and getting in the grove from start to finish. They were definitely psychedelic, but not overly so. I know that because I did not morph into my deadhead dance, which is a sure sign. And I am happy to report that I did not purchase, nor need, earplugs. They also played this one song where the music and the black and white light show mesmerized the crowd into silence and stillness. It was really intense and I am not sure how that happened. One of the great things about seeing a totally new band is that there is no anxiety of “I hope they play my favorite song.” It is quite liberating to just be able to enjoy every song as played. And that I did.
28 shows to go, 255 days left…