The Next Album
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.