THE WEDDING PRESENT Tunbridge Wells Forum 23 May 2014
Opening with their first concert of the year, The Wedding Present, who generally play live 1,000 times a year and never rest, return for their annual show at Britains best small venue (according to the NME), The Tunbridge Wells Forum. As is often the case, the lineup has changed again from their last show here 15 months ago, with a new bassist, and Patrick Alexander returning on guitar, and the band are much better now. Last years show was a tentative and hesitant debut for a shortlived and embryonic lineup, whilst Patrick Alexander has been on guitar for several years, and frankly – were I in a band, I'd steal him in a shot, for his fluency with the songs gives the songs a much-needed serrated edge. On “Catwoman” and “Click Click” (both from 1994's “Watusi”, which the band will be playing live later in the year), the songs are given new and powerful roars. Between these two songs, and “Granadaland”, I'm reminded of the wall-of-sound of My Bloody Valentine, where music just loops and loops and with each orbit it somehow becomes more intense, more vital, such as the subtle layering of a repetitive dance track.
The band open from the gates with a set made of an even spread across most of their career, from “Go Out & Get Em Boy”, the packed 250 capacity venue, small by their usual standards, betrays a degree of intimacy and closeness that sits within all their songs. With particular joy to me for “Blue Eyes” and “Flying Saucer” from the underrated 'Hit Parade'. And whilst it is, by no means, a set designed to please the casual (where's “Kennedy”, “Dalliance”, “Interstate 5”, for example?), The Wedding Present always seem able to draw on a wide range of material, and deliver it all with gusto and power. In this case, the band are as good as ever, and play a blinder. Why they aren't huge baffles me. But people are people. (etc.)
The newer stuff is under-represented with only three post 1997 songs. Much like a Cure gig. Not that that is a bad thing : the closing strait seems them rampage through “Granadaland” (('the best we've ever played it', according to Gedge), “Bewitched” and a moshpit frenzy of early stuff with “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft” and “You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends”, The Wedding Present are something like twelvety bands in one, jumping from the deep and intense material such as “Suck” and “Corduroy” to the more attractive, but equally powerful, “Click Click” and “Go Man Go” (both rarely played gems from the older heart of their work). What is clear is that The Wedding Present are a band, irrespective of who does what, and that this line up is the best I have seen of theirs in a long time, and at last, relatively stable. Go, man, go.
Go Out & Get Em Boy
Go Man Go
My Favourite Dress
Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft
You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends