The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017

The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017The Wedding Present ‘George Best’ @ o2 Academy, 8th June 2017

It’s hard to imagine the eighties without The Wedding Present, and in 1987 they released George Best, which was a fine piece of ‘indie guitar music’ and they courted the respect of John Peel, regularly filling his Festive 50. They were seen by some as a student band, maybe this was because they regularly played the college and university circuit, but for some they didn’t seem to get the angst-ridden love songs and musings of David Gedge, and later that decade when the songs became more guitar ridden, faster and can we say noisy under the influence of producer Steve Albini, a few more seemed to stray.

However, staying true to his principles, Gedge has remained industrious and his output over the years is incredible, indeed even forming a splinter band, Cinerama. He remains one of the nicest men you could meet, there are no assumptions with him and at every gig he is at the merchandise stand, happy to talk, have a photo, sign stuff and sell you some records from his own personal collection. His recording output is prolific and with a recent album, ‘Going, Going’ to promote he caught many off-guard when he announced he would tour and play the George Best album in full, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

A special mention must be made to support band Young Romance, a two piece band which it would be all too easy (and lazy) to mention the White Stripes, but have a batch of songs which go down well with the near to full house. Their album, ‘Another’s Blood’ is out now on Banquet Records.

Of course this would not be a simple run through and in the small packed o2 Academy 2 we get a thirty minute set of newer songs, opening with the majestic instrumental ‘Scotland’ and ending with ‘England’ suitably fitting as it’s polling day in the General Election. In-between these we get a flavour of where the Wedding Present are at in 2017, full on guitar-ridden songs, heavier yet still with those sublime lyrics, it seems Gedge remains as angst ridden now as he ever was. For proof have a listen to ‘Broken Bow’…”the pain of failure is so much greater than the pleasure of success”.

George Best is then played in full running order, and it’s pure joy. There are of course bigger shouts and cheers for the lead single ‘My Favourite Dress’ but this album is full of classics, such as ‘Give My Love to Kevin’, ‘A Million Miles’ and ‘Shatner’ and it just confirms how good this album is. You have to remember this was released against a backdrop of dross, chart pap of Stock Aitken Waterman and studio produced songs which all sounded the same, and then amongst it came four lads with Northern accents and fast guitars. It was refreshing then and has easily stood the test of time.

There are many tonight who would not have been born when the album came out but it’s encouraging to see the next generation here to support the show. I would like to think they have bought the album or will do so after tonight’s gig.

There has of course been line-up changes over the years, in fact another one last year, and from the days of 1987 only Gedge remains, but he was (and is) chief song-writer and of course the voice of the band.

To end the night we have ‘Kennedy’ and as Gedge says “we don’t do encores and we don’t do requests”. It’s been ninety minutes of great songs, almost a sandwich with a filling of George Best. There are fewer better fillings you could wish for.

George Best is a classic album from the eighties, easily standing the test of time and still sounding fresh thirty years on. Only now, on reflection, can we realise how lucky we were. At the time we simply turned up, had a few beers, someone ended up throwing a shoe on-stage, then we got the bus home. We have moved on in that we now have one beer (at an eye-watering £4.95), keep our shoes on and drive home. David Gedge we salute you!

 

Set-list

Scotland

Broken Bow

Deer Caught in the Headlights

Model, Actress, whatever

Click, Click

Crawl

Fifty-Six

England

“George Best”

Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft

What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?

Don’t Be So Hard

A Million Miles

All This and More

My Favourite Dress

Shatner

Something and Nothing

It’s What You Want That Matters

Give My Love to Kevin

Anyone Can Make a Mistake

You Can’t Moan Can You?

Kennedy

 

Reviewer: Glenn Raybone

Photographer: Stephanie Colledge

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