Friday, 30 May 2008

David Gedge - a top man, clearly

The Wedding Present: David Gedge (L) and Terry de Castro (R) during 'Suck'
I need to be careful that this doesn't turn into a music blog, but I saw The Wedding Present last night... and they were truly great. I arrived early at the comparatively small venue and secured a spot right by the stage and, pint of Summer Lightning in hand, settled in for a good night. I've seen the Weddoes many times before, in all sorts of venues, from Koko in Camden right down to the (now sadly defunct, as a live music venue at least) Penny Theatre in Canterbury, and they've always been good. But last night they were excellent, beyond even my fan-boy expectations.

After the well-received support act (the interesting Dawn Landes, a very sweet and musically diverse singer songwriter from New York) had done her thing, the atmosphere - a heady mix of anticipation and good humour - continued to build. At 9.30 the lights were dimmed, and The Wedding Present took to the stage. Frontman David Gedge, pictured left, the only ever-present member of the band's line-up, was in good form, bantering with the crowd, informing us that his surname came from the area (though he's from Leeds) and that he's probably the most famous Gedge ever - as such, didn't he deserve a statue here, he mused? On the basis of last night's show, few in the crowd would argue with that suggestion.

The Wedding Present: set list from 29th May 2008, signed by David GedgeFor a band that released a new album (El Rey) this very week, they didn't overdose the set with too much new, inherently unfamiliar, material but crossed the span of the band's 20+ year career fairly evenly. The set list, as chosen by bassist Terry de Castro (also pictured left) even contained You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends, which Gedge described as "Eighties indie pop"... he then introduced the next song as "modern indie pop" and, with barely a trace of irony, offered the observation that the two songs sounded much the same.

As the final song, Dare, tailed off into a whine of guitar feedback, guitarist Chris McConville threw his set list into the crowd... which went straight into my hand! I didn't even have to move my arm to catch it - result! And better still, Gedge appeared at the merchandise stall after the show and, as you can see on the right, signed the list for me. Ever the fan, I was embarrassed to find myself informing Mr Gedge that he was a "top man" for doing so...

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