Photos by Neil Van

It was a sparse Danforth Music Hall during the opening act, but as the main event approached, the place filled up. Ride clearly have a healthy number of fans in Toronto. Froth did an admirable job of opening, with an abundance of guitars (three, plus a bass and a drummer) and some lovely melodic riffs.

I was a youngster when Ride were playing the first time around, but their new album Weather Diaries, their first in over 20 years, is great and gets a healthy showing during the set. The electronic sections of their newer tracks play out over the mixer rather than through a musician on stage, leaving the band with the look of the old 90s rock band they were, just guitars, a mic and drummer. This simplicity is reflected in the stage setup: a huge RIDE banner behind them seems to glow just through some well-placed lighting. Beyond this it’s all amps and instruments and moody lighting. It offers an atmospheric intro as the band come on stage to open the set with new album opener Lannoy Point, followed by the lead single Charm Assualt.

The songs, and mainly the distorted riffs, are certainly the focus of the show, as few words are spoken by Gardener or Bell beyond “Thank You” and song names. Seagull gets a cheer from the crowd and the first elongated riffs of the night, followed by Like a Daydream.

The whole set is delivered a high volume that makes Gardener’s lyrics hard to make out, and I barely caught a word of drummer Colbert’s lead vocals midway through the set. But the crowd are here for the shoegaze distortion showcased to great effect, particularly in the older tracks. Colbert is a pleasure to watch on the drums. He provides the power of a driving beat and hardly seems to break a sweat, his movements are so controlled. Vapour Trail and the impressive outro at the end of the show are particular favourites of the crowd.

I’m not much of a shoe gazer, and the lengthy guitar sections leave me a bit cold and my ears ringing, but the crowd were very happy for the nostalgia and Ride left the stage with a very warm farewell.