The Wedding Present Middlesbrough Town Hall 13th August 2011

There comes a point when you should stop. When you have to look back at your twenty year old self and ask them what they would think if they could see you now. The list of those who don’t is, sadly, very long. The Rolling Stones, prancing and pouting; The Who, conveniently ignoring the sentiment expressed in their most famous song, Morrissey, becoming a self-parody (hopefully he’ll ban me from his concerts for that comment, just in case I should ever take leave of my senses and be tempted to attend one); and most culpable of all, Primal Scream, with their wince-inducing Rawk’n’Roll pastiche, Bobby Gillespie’s increasingly banal Americanised vocal technique and Andrew Innes dressing like the Sylvester McCoy incarnation of Dr Who.

One suspects however that should The Wedding Present’s Dave Gedge manage to get in touch with his former self, he’d receive a shrug of the shoulders and a casual ‘Why not?’ And rightly so. There’s not an ounce of Rock’n’Roll on show tonight. Dave Gedge is not a man trying to recapture his youth, not a man trying to prove a point, not a man grimly hanging on to some misplaced idea that the crimes of time have not personally had any impact on himself. He is a man who wants to sing his song, and that’s pretty much all he does. Tonight’s show is so much the better for that.

Gedge’s songs are simple affairs. Twisting and occasionally pretty melodies and heartfelt lyrics which detail, in some candour, the pains of unrequited love and the heartbreak of let down. It’s a theme which everybody can empathise with and the deadpan and wry nature in which the subject matter is dealt with make Gedge one of the most underrated of British lyricists.

Not content to play the nostalgia card like some washed up Sixties beat group ploughing through their handful of hits in the holiday camps of Britain, Gedge plays only one song from arguably the best album in his back catalogue, George Best, and only a smattering of early songs full stop. Tonight’s set spans his career in equal proportions with plenty of new songs and a resolute and steadfast refusal to play his trump cards. There’s no ‘Kennedy’ (thank God) and a request to play ‘Bewitched’ is rejected on the grounds that he played it ‘last year’.

Would the bands of today please take note for future reference.

This review was brought to us by Jon formerly the man behind The Suitcase Orchestra. Since he defunked this he has taken to writing books, dreaming of taking part in the Tour de France, bell ringing in his ears and a thirst for rocket fuel down at the Linny. We thank him for everything except the Morrissey put down. There may well be a wet plimsoll coming round our house as we speak…… Also thanks to Ciara Johnson for providing us with tickets to the event. A big thank-you to both.





By peter on August 20, 2011

Check out all the pics

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