The Wedding Present play Bizzaro
Live at the Crocodile Café
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
In a way, it almost seems like the Wedding Present are touring just for me.
They’re the latest in a string of bands from my formative years to reunite and revisit their classic material (See also Camper Van Beethoven. See also the Pixies. See also Soundarden). The difference here is that, unlike those bands, I’ve only recently become intimate with the Wedding Present’s music. And I’ve never seen the lad’s (and lady) from Leeds play live.
The band was certainly on my radar back in the late 80s and 90s when Rock Over London guided my mail-order musical purchases, but unlike the Smiths, the Jesus & Mary Chain and Big Audio Dynamite, I never dove deep in to their catalog.
It wasn’t until a friend burned me a download containing nearly 30 years of John Peel’s yearly Festive Fifty countdown on BBC radio back in 2007 that they became one of my favorites. Peel was a huge fan of “the Weddoes,” and they made appearances in a string of the countdowns between 1987 and about 1992. The tracks were taken from the band’s three proper studio albums from that era – George Best, Bizarro and Seamonsters – and each one was a highlight on that year’s countdown.
Frontman David Gedge has a distinct voice and bitter take on love and relationships, and his band’s songs consist primarily of pretty melodies played by two very fuzzy rhythm guitars and a dissonant rhythm section. Pop songs played with a post-punk asthetic. Tracks like “I’m Not Always So Stupid,” “Favourite Dress” and “Take Me” quickly became favorites and it wasn’t long before I picked up all three studio albums and Live 87. The band has been in my regular rotation ever since.
I don’t have an iconic live memory of the band from decades ago to hold tonight’s performance in comparison to, but I’ve watched enough Youtube footage to have a reasonably good idea of what to expect. The band is going to play loud, and they are going to play well.
Coincidentally, they also happen to be playing Bizarro in its entirety. The coincidence is that it’s the only Wedding Present recording I could find in my collection (on cassette of course) and probably the album I’d most like to see them play. So this all works out just great for me.
Bizarro is the second of the three albums and falls squarely in the middle of the band’s artistic evolution. It retains the energy and simplicity of George Best’s best moments (which plays more like a collection of singles than a proper album) and hints at more of the more of the fully-developed ideas on Seamonsters, arguably the band’s greatest work. I’m most looking forward to “Kennedy” and “Take Me!”, but every song stands to be great.
They’re rumored to be playing 9-10 other tracks first to warm up, so I’m going to go ahead and request the following. Given that this tour and show feel so unexpectedly perfect given my history with the band, I wouldn’t be surprised if they played all five. Just for me.
“I’m Not Always So Stupid” (George Best)
“My Favourite Dress” (George Best)