Nostalgia and The Wedding Present More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Cinerama and The Wedding Present at Picturedrome, Holmfirth

Holmfirth's Picturedrome - a fine venue let it be said - seems to fit The Wedding Present as much as any venue can. Like singer David Gedge the location is stuck between Yorkshire and Lancashire and while it has ideas of modernity with Tapas and a refined bar it is still the place of Sid's Cafe and the last of The Last of the Summer Wine.

If not a man out of time Gedge is something of a throwback to an age of guitar music before the genre enjoyed popularity. He is acerbic - rather than miserable - but make no mistake that the band described by Steve Lamacq as sounding "like a Maths teacher moaning about his girlfriend leaving" would not be headlining the opening Leeds Festival were they twenty years younger. Music - even this music - has changed.

Not that Gedge and his entourage have not changed too most notably in the transformation into opening act Cinerama who were basically The Wedding Present in the late 1990s. Gedge fronts both bands and the revival of the more sweeping, less jangly band first on the bill tonight presents a curious dissection of the main bands work. Starry Eyed is lashed through and seems to provide a pivot point to the 2005 reformed Present and the bedsit janglers who came before and dominate proceedings on this evening.

For tonight - and as preparation to a larger tour in the Autumn - the entirety of the 1990 album Bizzaro is played in order. Brassneck, Kennedy, Take Me and all.

It is too much for some. The crowd - of which I am happy to affiliate myself - are showing age and a mosh pit of balding heads is kind to no one. They bounce and jump in a way that belays their and my advancing years and as Gedge rips through a guitar string or two there is an air of unmistakable release. It did used to be like this - before mortgages and children - and it was as raucously enjoyable as anything post-punk pre-Brit Pop ever got.

The sight of the Weddeos Widows - women dragged by other halves and abandoned at the sides while Sir goes to join the throng at the front could be saddening but there is an easy joy about proceedings. It is reminisce.

Reminisce which is not to be mistake for nostalgia. The Greek word nostalgia literally refers to the pain from an old wound and as Gedge - who starts off with Corduroy and goes into Dare - starts to play three of five new tracks which will be a part of next year's next album the pain is illustrated vividly.

You're Dead is as much about infidelity as anything from any Wedding Present album of the last twenty five years but it talks about iPhones and the relationship rent asunder are more serious, more sombre, more important things.

Enjoy this trip back to your youth - it seems to say - because the pains of then are still the trails of life now. Nothing thing changes but the bodies get older and the aches more heavy.

The pains form old wounds still hurt.

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Slip and recovery for David Gedge as the brass meets the neck More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

David Gedge of The Wedding Present and Cinerama fuseleeds09 at The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

He is David Gedge - king of the room of indie kids, the leader of his tribe - and he is nervous.

Gedge - for twenty years the man behind The Wedding Present and Cinerama - must have sung My Favourite Dress hundreds of times but never like this and never having stopped a few lines in having fluffed his vocal.

The song - a standard of those who enjoy things on the thrashy side of twee - has been re-arranged by Tommy Laurence and is being pumped, blow, tinkled and blasted out by the BBC Big Band.

Gedge is more used to a sticky floored gig venue has put on a velvet jacket but still does not manage to look anything other than unkempt in the theatre surroundings of The West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. His right hand hung low during the opening pair of Cinerama songs Cat Girl Tights and And When She Was Bad and flicked for the comfort of a guitar that was not forthcoming. He is exposed and looks smaller, more nervous. No, not more nervous: Nervous for the first time.

Out of his element Gedge's eyes flick to Conductor Steve Sidwell who counts him in and prompts him. Delicately he stumbles into this twenty one year old song of young man's heartbreak a percussion section behind him to the left and a thirteen piece brass section to the right. He stumbles.

He stumbles and a curious feeling crosses the room. Gedge - his on stage persona and, being the sort of guy who will share a word or two at gigs, his personality off it - is characterised by a confidence that comes from his achievements. Of course his greatest hit only got to number ten - Come Play With Me gets an airing tonight and emerges from the guitarist fuzz of The Wedding Present in 1992 into a chirpy blast of Sax that borders on jazz - but who else in the room at a regular T' Weddeos gig can say that? Who else makes a living doing what they want to do in as grumpy a way as they want to do it. He is king of all he surveys on those nights but on this evening he in vulnerable and unsure.

His eyes flick around between songs checking for applause which is fulsome and supportive. Bands and fans are symbiotic in nature and while it might always but true it is not always obvious that Gedge needs his support tonight. He is humbled and humble.

And he is appreciated. Carolyn and Heather emerge from the masterpiece Seamonsters and one wonders if the durged guitar of that record makes the arrangement easier where as one would have assumed that a tune swallowed up in fuzz would be more difficult to remake. Certainly the distinctive riff of show closer Brassneck is not repeated in a Sax tooting D/A/D/A/D/A/G as many here have knocked out in imitation of Gedge.

Before brass tackles neck though is the show stopping Piano only accompaniment of TWP Cinerama cover (or it is a TWP cover done by Cinerama? Who can say?) Don't Touch That Dial which Gedge lilts though with a firm confidence restored. There is a beauty to much of the 2005 album Take Fountain and none more so than that recording.

Gedge does not do encores but returns to take another stab at My Favourite Dress because - he jokes to the brass section - "one of those guys messed up or something." He is impressed that the guy on Sax at the back has played n every James Bond soundtrack but as he finished off this evening which twenty years ago would have seemed teh height of the surreal Gedge's swagger is restored.

The fervour though, is in the slip, and the recovery.