Ride at The Regency Ballroom, by Patric Carver
Ride (photo: Patric Carver)

Ride came back to San Francisco to play a packed show at the Regency Ballroom.

Opening act Spirit of the Beehive had a bright and beautiful sound that, much like the film they're named for, contained some darker substance upon examination. All of their songs sounded pretty, but there was an overall feeling of longing ever-present in the hum-like vocals and straining guitars. They were a great warm-up act for the dream-pop rockers Ride.

Ride has a lot of things going for them, but stamina is definitely what first comes to mind when I think of them. You don't have to look far to see examples of Ride exerting their endurance. Their 11-minute juggernaut of a song, "Grasshopper" is only one example of their go-the-distance spirit. (I'm still longing to hear that one live, though I am probably in the minority.) Their set at the Regency captured that same spirit with enthusiasm.

Most of the set was from their new album, This is Not a Safe Place. Safe Place's "Kill Switch" was particularly good, bringing that pulsating grittiness forward with some style. However, the highlight of the evening came from their 1990 album Nowhere, "Taste." Mark Gardner is somewhat of an alt-rock angel, being able to hold these lovely long notes, bringing security to the crowd despite the massive chaos of the wall of sound produced during that song.

I've seen Ride three times now, and every time I feel like I get to know them a little better. Their shows are always a thrill, and they reveal new layers of themselves each time.

I look forward to Ride coming through town again.

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