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Gig review

The Wedding Present

Never mind the crowd wallowing in nostalgia, David Gedge and his merry band must also be getting flashbacks as they take the stage.

Celebrating 30 years since their debut long-player’s release and a few more before that playing around Leeds in venues not dissimilar to this – its low ceiling and sold-out dancefloor packed by 150 or so hardened fans, may of whom will have seen the band often over this period. The Greenside is a favourite with the band it seems, their fifth visit in the past decade or so, perhaps due to their enjoying the intimacy that other arena-sized tour stops can’t offer.

And before the main event i.e. the playback of ‘George Best’, the quintet (including a keyboardist obscured by the PA) will be, in the words of C86 contempararies Half Man Half Biscuit, “trying out some new material”. Opener ‘Scotland’, from the recent four-track ‘Home Internationals’ EP, is quite unlike the standard Weddoes sound, indeed if anything it harks back to the Steve Albini-produced ‘Seamonsters’ – the buststs of noise and atmospheric pub chatter samples redolent of Mogwai or Slint rather than their tradmark jangle. Oh, and it’s LOUD.

Right on cue, we get a version of ‘Crawl’ from that third release, as tight as back in the day, as the band warm up – literally, it’s the hottest day of the year, the un-Scottish weather clearly taking Gedge and co rather by surprise. We get a good spread of material in the short lead-up to the main event, the pick of which being ‘Model, Actress, Whatever…’ from El Rey. The mini-set is bookended by another instrumental, ‘England’ but, unheralded apart from a guitar change, we’re under way and ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’ takes us into the last outing for THE indie album release of 1987.

A pogotastic ‘Favourite Dress’ takes us to the “halfway through” point as Gedge claims it’s time to slow things down, but the audience know very well that instead it’s the high velocity ‘Shatner’, with its finger-shredding guitar that opens side two. The next 20 minutes fly by almost unceremoniously and it seems a little strange to be saying goodbye to what is, after all, a bunch of tunes that will doubtless be played again, just not in this precise order. But it is one thing that makes this band unique, alongside their “No encores” maxim. Happily, and to prevent us finishing on any kind of downer, another stone-cold classic, ‘Kennedy’, gets perhaps the most frenzied, mobile reception of the night as the more hardened Weddoes followers perhaps relive their teenage years with a flail in the impromptu moshpit that forms.

Tomorrow the band will play the larger environs of Glasgow’s O2 ABC, but tonight, in this corner of Fife, it’s 1987 all over again.

By Stuart McHugh

itm? head honcho

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