Photo Credit: Brian Robson Photography
On the 23rd November I was more than happy to watch one of my favourite bands at the university’s very own nightclub/music venue, The Lemon Grove. The night resulted in what was probably one of the most intimate and memorable gigs I have witnessed since Kasabian in 2013. The ‘semi-legendary’ Wedding Present astounded once again; it was the first time I had ever seen a band have two people drumming on the same drum kit at the very same time. How perfectly inappropriate!
“The boy Gedge has written some of the best love songs of the ‘rock ‘n’roll’ era. You may dispute this, but I’m right and you are wrong!”. Whatever John Peel meant by ‘rock ‘n’ roll era’, he was right. However, this quote is also false: David Gedge has written some of the best love songs of any given era as well. Taking examples from the set list which I was lucky enough to nab: Give My Love To Kevin (a perfect opening song from the highly-regarded first album George Best), Dalliance, Brassneck are some of the ‘oldies’. Some of the newer additions to the repertoire such as Silver, Rachel and the mesmerising album closer - and show stopper on this occasion: Santa Monica. It was one of those rare gigs where I was just as (if not more) excited to hear the new songs than I was the old. Again, to challenge John Peel: Gedge and his numerous changes in personnel have written powerful songs that have flourished through many different ‘eras’ since George Best in 1987 – not just one.
Again, the sound was on point. The size of The Lemon Grove was particularly beneficial to the band as it allowed for the heavy distorted sound to bounce off the walls and cause a rumble. It’s quite surprising how heavy-sounding Wedding Present gigs are! It should also be pointed out that the line-up had undergone changes since the last time I saw them in March, with the new bassist originating from Exeter. Gedge had chosen well; the new members showed fluency and cohesion when venturing into older Wedding Present territory, which was very well received by older fans of the band. Another nice touch was to see Gedge talk to the fans at the band merchandise stand before and after the gig.
On the subject of nice touches, a few things made this gig quite the personal experience as well as well as an excellent musical experience. The audience was treated to a short history lesson of Exeter courtesy of the band’s drummer (who pulled a vast array of impressive facial expressions throughout the gig); Gedge displayed the traditional sense of humour which I have come to appreciate from previous gigs. Finally, the band performed one of my favourite Wedding Present songs of all time, which had never been played live before until the 23rd: Mothers. Meeting David Gedge before the show was an experience I shall never forget; it was endearing to hear about how much he cherishes the band, and it was even more refreshing to hear that it won’t be the last we hear of The ‘semi-legendary’ Wedding Present.
I should also note that it was announced that next year, on its 30th anniversary, the band will be touring George Best for the final time. I know for one, I shall be there – there is no reason why you should not be, also. It won’t be played at The Lemon Grove though, sadly.