Slip and recovery for David Gedge as the brass meets the neck

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

David Gedge of The Wedding Present and Cinerama fuseleeds09 at The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

He is David Gedge - king of the room of indie kids, the leader of his tribe - and he is nervous.

Gedge - for twenty years the man behind The Wedding Present and Cinerama - must have sung My Favourite Dress hundreds of times but never like this and never having stopped a few lines in having fluffed his vocal.

The song - a standard of those who enjoy things on the thrashy side of twee - has been re-arranged by Tommy Laurence and is being pumped, blow, tinkled and blasted out by the BBC Big Band.

Gedge is more used to a sticky floored gig venue has put on a velvet jacket but still does not manage to look anything other than unkempt in the theatre surroundings of The West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. His right hand hung low during the opening pair of Cinerama songs Cat Girl Tights and And When She Was Bad and flicked for the comfort of a guitar that was not forthcoming. He is exposed and looks smaller, more nervous. No, not more nervous: Nervous for the first time.

Out of his element Gedge's eyes flick to Conductor Steve Sidwell who counts him in and prompts him. Delicately he stumbles into this twenty one year old song of young man's heartbreak a percussion section behind him to the left and a thirteen piece brass section to the right. He stumbles.

He stumbles and a curious feeling crosses the room. Gedge - his on stage persona and, being the sort of guy who will share a word or two at gigs, his personality off it - is characterised by a confidence that comes from his achievements. Of course his greatest hit only got to number ten - Come Play With Me gets an airing tonight and emerges from the guitarist fuzz of The Wedding Present in 1992 into a chirpy blast of Sax that borders on jazz - but who else in the room at a regular T' Weddeos gig can say that? Who else makes a living doing what they want to do in as grumpy a way as they want to do it. He is king of all he surveys on those nights but on this evening he in vulnerable and unsure.

His eyes flick around between songs checking for applause which is fulsome and supportive. Bands and fans are symbiotic in nature and while it might always but true it is not always obvious that Gedge needs his support tonight. He is humbled and humble.

And he is appreciated. Carolyn and Heather emerge from the masterpiece Seamonsters and one wonders if the durged guitar of that record makes the arrangement easier where as one would have assumed that a tune swallowed up in fuzz would be more difficult to remake. Certainly the distinctive riff of show closer Brassneck is not repeated in a Sax tooting D/A/D/A/D/A/G as many here have knocked out in imitation of Gedge.

Before brass tackles neck though is the show stopping Piano only accompaniment of TWP Cinerama cover (or it is a TWP cover done by Cinerama? Who can say?) Don't Touch That Dial which Gedge lilts though with a firm confidence restored. There is a beauty to much of the 2005 album Take Fountain and none more so than that recording.

Gedge does not do encores but returns to take another stab at My Favourite Dress because - he jokes to the brass section - "one of those guys messed up or something." He is impressed that the guy on Sax at the back has played n every James Bond soundtrack but as he finished off this evening which twenty years ago would have seemed teh height of the surreal Gedge's swagger is restored.

The fervour though, is in the slip, and the recovery.

Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

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