(Planet Me)
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
KYTV25 : NEDS ATOMIC DUSTBIN / THE WEDDING PRESENT / THE PRIMITIVES / EAT : Wolverhampton Civic Hall 19 December 2015

25 years after their first headline show, Neds Atomic Dustbin return to Wolverhampton's Civic Hall – where the singer is a member of the corporate team – just before the venue closes for a significant refit and refurbishment. It's the first of a planned annual kneesup shindig Indie Christmas Party – presumably the opening gig next year will also see Neds and a number of similar bands.


The night runs late – Eat are still soundchecking at 5.30pm, and come on 17 minutes late. Every band seems to run near enough to time, Eat making their sixth live appearance in 20 or so years, and – just like Indie Daze in London – they are a squall of passionate sound, a mixture of deep and dirty blue rock and streamlined, empowered with melody. There's a cover of Masters of Reality's “It's Shit”, the known big hitters “Bleed Me White” and “Shame” and the whole thing rolls with a confidence.

Next up are The Primitives, and I miss them in order to eat.


I've now seen the same lineup of The Wedding Present three times in a row, which must be a record. David Gedge is joined by long time drummer Charlie Layton (first seen in 2005), bass player Katherine Wallinger, and guitarist Sam Beer-Pierce. It's easily the best Wedding Present show I've seen, the band have locked into place after playing together with this lineup near enough solidly for the past two and a half years. The sound is immense, with guitars set to the jugular and the rhythm section fluid. The biggest issue I have with the band isn't really an issue at all ; they have so many songs, and so much material (spread across 14 or so studio albums and 5 compilations), that they could play a song from every album in a full show and still not cover all of them. For me, my favourite Wedding Present song walks a tightrope between wit, sincerity, and tender fury : and starting with “Come Play With Me”, they play six songs – probably my six of my top seven Wedding Present songs in a row. “Dalliance” is a song they've played a lot, but like any Wedding Present show, there's no one song they play at every show, especially when there's something like 50 singles in their armoury. "Dalliance" is.. staggering. Not only does it sound glorious, but the venue is heaving with middle aged people jumping up and down and pushing each other yelling the words, and well, it's just both enormous fun, and wonderfully cathartic.

Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft /
You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends /
Broken Bow /
Skin Diving /
Deer In Headlights /
Santa Monica /
Come Play With Me /
Dalliance /
Dare /
Flying Saucer /
Kennedy /
Bewitched /
My Favourite Dress


I've managed to miss one whole gig by Ned's Atomic Dustbin in the past five years. (I had a ticket, but the inlaws were seeing Neil bloody Diamond that night). And now, 25 years after the first time they headlined the Civic (and I spent most of post gig night shivering in show on the way home), and I'm back now. The hair had migrated to my jaw and off my head, the belly is (slightly larger), and I live 200 miles away down south by the sea, surrounded by Tories and beaches. The music hasn't changed, the audience hasn't changed, the passion – or the fierce adrenalin rush – hasn't changed. The Civic is where I grew up, where I saw all the bands I loved, where I went clubbing in the days of nightbuses and indie discos, where I met girls who ruined my life for a while.

All the hits are correct. As well as the sweat tides, the broken glasses, and the exhaustion. Intact, Walking Through Syrup, Stuck, Not Sleeping Around, Trust, Happy, Until You Find Out, Kill Your Television. All are like short, sharp pop bullets. There were days when none of these songs had come out, and were all new ones.

My proximity to the band, my relationship to the songs has evolved, changed. It took me a while, and it was my failing, to really grasp the naunce in the well thought words behind the songs, coupled with music that is a unholy, glorious racket. Would I prefer a band lay with half as much passion for twice as long? Not at all. It may all be over in 80 minutes, but what an 80 minutes. More than the music, which originally brought me here, are my friends. It's not a big deal really, but there's around 30 or so of my friends, all of whom I met through music, all of whom I'm having a wonderful time with. It is what it is : a great night out with lots of friends from all over the country (and in some cases, the world), brought together by a common love and passion. Are you normal? Of course not. Nor would I ever want to be.

Not Sleeping Around /
Until You Find Out /
Throwing Things /
Trust /
Walking Through Syrup /
Self Defence /
Less Than Useful /
You Don't Want To Do That /
Leg End /
Stuck /
Legoland /
Who Goes First? /
Cut Up /
Traffic /
Happy /
Grey Cell Green /
Intact /
Song 11 /

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