Mark Gardner Goldrush Lorna – The Social, June 2003

She put the phone down. Mark Gardner. Tonight. Fantastic. Gazing past my shoes I take the Ride express to 1989. The ultimately poisonous Tarantula and glowing Carnival of Light flash by. Back further still, to the rush of Going Blank Again, Nowhere and the early ep’s. I sit grinning in my teenage mind and remember getting lost amidst floating vocals and sheets of sound.

14 years later and I’m shedding valuable pounds trying to catch a few words with the shorn-haired Gardner. Bad timing and a crippling-polite-gene means this doesn’t happen. You didn’t want just a Ride retrospective? Good. Now there’s more space to write about the beguiling Lorna and deservedly burgeoning Goldrush.

Nottingham based Lorna quietly glide on stage, demanding your attention. Effortlessly layered vocals drift across a crafted, musical tide. A cursory listen could easily draw comparisons with Neil Halstead or Belle & Sebastian – all aching chords and poignant delivery. But what elevates Lorna is their painstakingly beautiful attention to production. Each sound, purposeful and distinct, melds to form an ethereal wave with the power to take you far away.

Beckoning mischievously, Goldrush lead us through a different kind of escape hatch. Seizing the baton from Teenage Fanclub, they paint a gloriously bittersweet landscape, complete with bruised hearts and opened minds. But their sepia-tinged truck folk never lets you wallow. Delicious hooks and chiming harmonies feed an expansive sound that’s delivered with a libidinous verve and infectious enthusiasm. Kissed by the flaming Lips after recent support slots with Mr Coyne & Co, Goldrush have the ability to leave you flushed and breathless.

Since Ride’s demise Mark Gardner has rarely been seen, briefly surfacing with Animal House and collaborating with Paul Oakenfold. But judging by tonight’s reception, he hasn’t been forgotten. Greeting us with a twelve-string salvo, Gardner frames new material with striking acoustic renditions of old Ride classics. Chrome Waves, stripped and raw, strokes the spine with a haunting familiarity.

As the set builds, Goldrush are called upon to add an electric depth and intrigue to proceedings. And this helps to open up the scope of Gardner’s solo ambitions. Newly penned songs showcase unmistakable, soaring melodies. But the soulful approach defines a new direction. Delving into the back catalogue during the encore, Mark Garner treats us to the timelessly fragile Vapour Trail. He returns next year with an album and a full tour. You get the impression that he’ll be reserving the retrospective glances for very special occasions.

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