The last Red Riders gig ever. It’s strange to think that after seeing their third ever show – playing at the Hopetoun, on a bill that also included When Yr Dead Yr Dead Forever and Riff Random – that so many friends, long-lost acquaintances and people you’d rather avoid would be bought back together to celebrate this end of an era.
When the four original members walked onstage to the sound of rapturous applause and Goanna’s Solid Rock it was striking how little they’d changed physically in the intervening years. For many of us, Red Riders were such a big part of going out, seeing bands, getting trashed, talking crap and meeting people for the first time. They were the band that wrote bloody catchy songs that made girls dance and made guys want to make music to make girls dance. They were the band that could have, would have, should have been massive.
With punchy, jarring tunes like Mouthful O’ Riot, C’Mon, Slide In Next To Me, Scream, Call On Me, I Think You’re Blind, My Love Is Stronger Than Your Love, In My Sleep and A.S.P.R.I.N. punctuating the set from the outset, it was pretty easy to be reminded of just how great guitar bands can be. Especially guitar bands that don’t just labour on in the same bog-standard rock format that a lot of newer local bands seem to be churning out as if it was still 1973.
The second half of the set highlighted the band’s second album, Drown In Colour. It’s a darker, moodier, more atmospheric album. There’s also a bunch of standout tracks like The Siren Sings, Never Gonna Be Enough and You’ve Got A Lot Of Nerve.
After finishing the main set with Ordinary, Alex Grigg returned to the stage for a mostly solo The Beginning Of The End Of The Night. The whole band then returned to end it once and for all with The Unstoppable. It was one final all-out assault of pop, attitude and noise. It was 2004 again. Then it was over.
So farewell Red Riders. One of the great Sydney bands of the last ten years. Thanks for the memories, old and new.