DIIV - I looked forward to seeing these New Yorkers and even with a slow start, things got quite interesting. They feature a couple of guitars on top of a rhythm section with a keyboardist who adds a lot of third guitar and backing vocals. His contributions are key as the keyboards create a nice swirling effect dreamy pop sounds that have a bit more rocking drive with the rhythm section. The third guitar gives it a bit of heft and even more 'driiv' showing that they are a perfect opener for tonight's unique headliner. There is even more psychedelia and intense rock moments as this set keeps getting better and better. The crowd was really stoked by the closer and the loud ovation was richly deserved. I am happy enough right now with the time invested and could leave a very contented man. But why on earth would I ever do that.
Ride - The 1990s were a bit of a lost decade for me as I spent more time with the 1960s and 1970s. But Ride's debut 'Nowhere' was one of my few prized possessions from that decade. I liked some of the shoegaze scene, but Ride was far and away my favorite as I heard so much beyond shoegaze. After a long acrimonious hiatus, the guys are back and are exciting audiences everywhere. The only question tonight was going to be exactly how good are they sounding these days? They didn't miss a note tonight as the sound and playing was brilliant from the beginning to end. Drums were big and bold, guitars sounded exquisite as they layered unique sounds together with intriguing parts that are well thought out and almost mystical. The two voices were rich and steady throughout. The bass playing was the personal surprise as I am not sure I realized how important it is to their sound. He mixes fingerstyle with picking and lays down some of the smoothest runs around, so the other instruments sound even more striking. The songs are really great and there is one screaming shoegaze freakout during the closer, 'Drive Blind'. The crowd was a bit more shoegazing than the band, for although they were appreciative, the movement was rather slight. I wanted to jump out of my skin when they launched into 'Decay' for the first time on a live stage since 1991(they announced even a couple of other firsts tonight).
Based on what I have read, these kids have grown up and realized at least some of the folly of earlier arguments. Hopefully these live shows can inspire them to some more group creativity as I would certainly welcome more Ride music into my world. But if not, this was a great night as one more unexpected pleasure that I would not have imagined in the last couple of decades.
Quote of the Night: Mark Gardener... "Washington, it's been a long time."