The Wedding Present

The Duchess in York and The Wedding Present More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Wedding Present at The Duchess, York

The Duchess in York is a tidy little venue. A touch dark perhaps and not the sort which could be used for a quiet drink but a decent place to enjoy The Wedding Present running through the 20 year old Bizarro album.

The Wedding Present are now as they ever shall be remarkable good value live. Gedge injects songs written two decades - and a great deal of the audience's hairline - ago with a kind of vigour which could prompt one to think the he had only just penned the line "Lost your love of life? Too much Apple pie..."

The Duchess in York is the son of the The Duchess of York the famed Leeds venue where many a man of my age found the joy of music. Grant Lee Buffalo, Even As We Speak, Green Day, The Voodoo Queens, Nirvana, Passion Fruit and Holy Bread, Elastica, Not Oasis, Sleeper, The Popguns and on and on the list of bands seen good and bad befits a venue of such legend.

Gedge himself was a regular - he featured in a YTV five minute programme called "My Favourite Pub" - and everyone had a story about encountering him cutting the figure at the time as he did of the Leeds arm of the Madchester scene. In hindsight the bands there and there could not be further apart, but that seemed lost on us at the time and The Wedding Present were taken to heart because while the other side of the Pennines had the antics of Shaun and Bez we had Dave.

And Dave meant it. He still does. New tune End Credits stands up against most other things played while mid-1990s track Real Thing has an edge of the unlistened about it. There is a rich back catalogue and it is worth a trawl as the majority of tonight's gig proves but the highlight is a live version of 2005's Interstate 5

Everything should be new, even the old.

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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.

The Wedding Present Enjoying Blackpool More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, July 27th, 2008

The Wedding Present at The Tower Lounge, Blackpool

David Gedge is in a good mood - so much so that I have the second conversation in 15 years with the notoriously grumpy Wedding Present singer and make him laugh - and takes is out on his audience.

In the middle of the one hour twenty set - always good value the Weddoes - the band blast through ten minutes pre-George Best material that leaves a mosh that is getting older breathlessly tired from exertions.

This night in Blackpool's tower lounge - "Bottom of the Tower, story of my life" Gedge comments - is rearranged following cancellation and the reward for persistence is a set that mines the older material in the band's lengthy career.

Gedge tells us that his parents live eight miles away but will not be coming to the gig because the seasid resort is a bit rough - it is - and this is typical of the wry comments and sly witticisms that dot tonight's performance.

I'm Not Usually This Stupid gets a run out but there is no Soup for anyone and this is greeted well by the mosh but undersells the quality of the output of the last - say - decade and a bit and highlights of tonight were Cinerama track Wow and latest album song The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend where bassist Terry De Castro shares vocal duties.

Blue Eyes is purred to perfection and Loveslave growled with the former an example of why it is this band of all those who emerged in the indie scene of the eighties were retailed with heartfelt, honest lyrics and powerful, strong guitar. The latter never impressed and shows the band and the man's tendency to meander haphazardly through the back catalogue.

Someone shouts for He Looks Daft - "Not one of mine that" - and is corrected at one point by the singer then asked with reply if he didn't hear that when the full George Best album was played on the last tour. He couldn't make it - "No my fault that is it?" smile Gedge back.

Nevertheless most bands who would be The Wedding Present's peers would never leave out songs like Kennedy, My Favourite Dress, Shatner, California, I'm From Further North Than You out of their set for the sake of playing the odd B-side from the early 1990s. Such a song - Gone - get a great reception live.

Nevertheless with quality in depth it is no wonder Gedge keeps performing and performing the back catalogue that in a very real sense is judged as classic material. Brassneck is brilliant - always has been, always will be - and the growled, enthused closing pair of Dalliance and Dare end with Gedge dropping guitar on floor having said an honest sounding thank you to those who did brave Blackpool.

I think he enjoyed himself.

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The Most Miserable Man In Music Smiles More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, July 27th, 2008

As mentioned previously I - Dalliance man Michael Wood - have spoken to David Gedge of The Wedding Present once before but now that exchange has been added to:

Michael: So, do you miss the Duchess of York in Leeds?
David: No
Michael: Really? Are you sure that is not why you left?

David laughs as Dalliance's Ria Wilkinson clicks...
Michael Wood and David Gedge

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The Next Album More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The Wedding Present at The Picturedrome, Holmfirth

I have a theory on The Wedding Present which goes something along the lines of that they are the most unlikeable band on the planet which - in turn - makes them the most loveable.I'll expand.

How does one explain The Wedding Present to an outsider? They are a miserable band for sure and yeah I guess all the songs do sound the same and if you don't get it then Seamonsters does sound like one long low noise but if for whatever reason you do, if you are one of the converted, then you love them. Perhaps someone will add to this with a set of reasons about life conditioning and a love of loud guitar but for the moment I'm prepared to leave that theory hanging with the tantalising idea that being better than "good" is not the same as being "great".

Tonight was for the converted. A cinema in a backwater next to a backwater in Yorkshire plays host to The Wedding Present as they prepare for the twentieth year since the not at all ground breaking but entirely excellent George Best album was released and while hairlines in the ruckus at the front have receded to the point of baldness for some the energy has not. Ninety minutes after going on stage that ruckus will be hands on thighs at the side of the stage feeling their age but for now the years are peeled back as David Gedge slams into My Favourite Dress as if twenty years had not passed. California follows then Gone gets rare outing after and Gedge comments "Three-nil up in the first ten minutes I think"

He is right of course but he knows that he will eat into that lead straying away from the much loved back catalogue and giving outings to first play and next album tracks. The soon to be retitled The Thing I Like Most About You is Your Girlfriend stands out and is lauded in the hubbub as an instant classic but the middle section of the set is curiously received. Gedge could make a pile of money taking a few years dragging Brassneck around the country but the signature song is missing tonight despite - or perhaps because of - the calls for it and similar. This Boy Can Wait someone calls, "Is that a request or are you just a patient man" comes the reply.

Such calls seem to miss the point of the band who despite temptation aim to be as contemporary as possible and this gig is as much about the next album as any previous.

Nevertheless when the previous include Crawl, Dalliance and Dare - all of which get an outing - it would be cruel not to dip into the back catalogue. A momentum is build up which climbs to a crescendo with a hypnotic version of Interstate 5 and is concluded with a joyously received Kennedy.

The band move onto Sheffield tomorrow night and then in six months (are rumoured) to be touring in support of a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the release of George Best but perhaps the best way to celebrate will be a new album taking the same swaggering stab at brilliance as the one baring the name of the bearded Manchester United man did.

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