Following The Wedding Present can be an addiction. A recent thread on Facebook highlighted that several people have seen this band play a serious number of times, whilst others can’t understand why anyone would “want to see a group more than once a year”.
Being one of the former group of people (call me sad if you like), I can use tonight’s gig as a prime example of why going to see your favourite band over a couple of hundred times is not weird, obsessive, or remotely strange. (OK maybe just a bit, but bear with me!). In no particular order here is why:
The first attraction is the tunes. I could hear them time and time again. The current crop of gigs is fuelled by the songs from the compilation album Tommy. It is apparently the 30th anniversary of the release of this mixture of tunes, which is a sobering enough thought in itself. Some of those tunes like My Favourite Dress or I’m Not Always So Stupid have become staples of many a set list but others less so and there were a couple that I’m sure I hadn’t heard live before tonight. Plus there are the anorak questions: which songs share lyrics? Or which song has two titles? All grist to the obsessive’s mill to be sure. Then there is the name of the album — dredged up as a piece of sarcasm by one time bass player Keith Gregory but adopted just the same. In hindsight not the best choice as David Gedge (DLG) himself admitted. The added John Peel Intro from 1985 made for a poignant moment.
The second is the line-up, or more specifically the changes in the line-up. You know that old quote from the late Mark E Smith “If it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s the Fall.”? Well David Gedge may not be as prolific in terms of band turnover but he’s getting there. For me it’s a new guitarist and bass player tonight, although neither is a stranger to The Wedding Present with Danielle Wadey and Melanie Howard having both contributed to The Wedding Present and alter-ego Cinerama over recent times. The sound was good all night but different. I had the feeling that DLG carried a greater load on the guitar sound. Compared to recent guitarists Danielle had a less rockist style which must have made tunes like the almost nine minute Take Me quite tricky. The easiest way to describe it is that she seemed to be playing the guitar properly, like an acoustic.
Next is the people. Nothing makes my heart sing more than the sight of a load of blokes my age moshing and wheezing along to something like Take Me or Kennedy or Brassneck. Take your pick. There were familiar faces and people who I felt had not seen The Wedding Present since Tommy was released, at least from their reaction to Two Bridges, Boo Boo or even Ringway to Seatac. But it was a great atmosphere and everyone seemed to get through unscathed.
Last but not least we have the venue. ClichÃ©d it may sound, but the exact same set delivered by The Wedding Present can be different from venue to venue, and even the night of the week can make a difference. I like the Academy 2. It shouldn’t work but it does. It’s upstairs, it has that weird l-shaped bit near the front but no matter how full it gets you can always seem to see the stage. It did The Wedding Present proud and vice versa, just like last year.
Finally a mention for support Dexy who struggled manfully against the early evening loudness of bank holiday weekend inebriates. Good tunes, even better by all accounts with his full band, and a delivery that in a peculiar way reminded me of Jim Bob Morrison, although I don’t know if either would thank me for the comparison!
The Wedding Present Set List
Gazebo (Electric Version)
(John Peel Intro)
Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy
(The Moment Before) Everything’s Spoiled Again
Ringway to Seatac
At the Edge of the Sea
The Queen of Outer Space
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
Living and Learning
This Boy Can Wait
Felicity (Orange Juice cover)
You Should Always Keep in Touch With Your Friends
I’m Not Always So Stupid
Every Mother’s Son
My Favourite Dress
Review: Ian Gelling
2017 Photograph – Stephanie Colledge