Bristol's middle-aged moshpit, spurred on by some younger pogoing devotees, bounced their way through The Wedding Present's debut album "George Best" one last time in a live setting. Celebrating its thirtieth birthday, David Gedge was the only surviving member of the 1987 incarnation - indeed the only one of the current awesome foursome that was anywhere near adulthood when the album was written. As well as a celebration, it was also the album's retirement tour, the last time it will be reprised live as a full body of work. Bristol gave it a splendid send-off.
Before the "George Best" segment, we were treated to a diverse cross-section of Wedding Present songs from 1991 to the present day, spanning "Seamonsters", "Watusi", "El Rey", "Valentina", "Going, Going" and the recent "Home Internationals EP". They eased atmospherically into motion with the sparse piano intro of "Scotland", before building to the widescreen, post-rock sonics that have characterised much of their recent sound. "Broken Bow" reflected on how 'The pain of failure is so much greater than the pleasure of success', whilst succeeding pleasurably, before the first of many walls of sound smacked us in the chops during "Deer Caught in the Headlights" and "Model, Actress, Whatever".
'We are the semi-legendary Wedding Present' announced Gedge, wry and flirtatious, very much comfortable within his own skin as a seasoned front man, despite what the angst of many a lyric may suggest. He may sing with his heart on his sleeve, but he addresses his audience with his tongue in his cheek, introducing "Loveslave" as part of their 'frankly groundbreaking LP', "Seamonsters". Much as this was self-aware, self-referential and ironic in its bragging, there was a ripple of assent through the audience that this was just how their pre-grunge 1991 masterwork ought to be remembered. Gedge the songwriter has always had an ear for everyday conversation. "Crawl" gave him the chance to hurl a typical colloquial grenade, growling, 'Say that again and I'll kill you.' "Loveslave" gave them the chance to go gung-ho on the guitars and be the Shredding Present. That and 2016's "Fifty-Six" had most of us on the phone to the Guitar String Abuse Hotline.
Continue reading: The Wedding Present - Bristol O2 Academy 15.06.17 Live Review
They may have split up, reformed and had more line-up changes than the Man United back four, but The Wedding Present are now on their third album since Singer David Gedge reformed the band in 2005 and eighth album in total. Valentina continues the sound that The Wedding Present fans expect and love as every album passes since their debut in 1985. It will be always be difficult for a band to match their best created earlier in the career, and Valentina is no exception. Although not much will better 'Seamonsters' there are definitely some moments on the new album to make it worth listening to.
Continue reading: The Wedding Present, Valentina Album review