I’ve had a long day, and I hate to admit that I don’t feel like doing the work that a proper post requires. So I’ll dip into the old bag of tricks and I’ll serve up an old favorite.
Even with all of the “new” stuff that I’ve been listening to lately, I’ve been on a bit of a Wedding Present jag lately. As you might or probably don’t know, The Wedding Present is one of my favorite bands. They formed in Leeds in 1985 and have put out eight proper albums, a couple of mini albums, and an absurd amount of singles. In 1992, they released a single for every month of the year, and each was backed with a cover of a song by a more well-known band. They made history by placing all of those singles in the top 30 in the UK charts. Nobody has done that before or since.
Over the 28 years, the band has had a lot of lineup changes and a couple of hiatus. Through it all, the only constant member has been the frontman David Gedge.
I’ve seen this band live a number of times, and they’re one of those bands that always puts on an amazing show, and they never play encores. That’s just their thing.
The first thing that I knew by The Wedding Present was their catalog-defining 1991 masterpiece Seamonsters, which I discovered as a new release. After I fell in love with that album, I sort of became obsessed. As those “Hit Parade” compilations were released, I gobbled them up one after the other. For at least a decade, I snatched up everything that they released and I was quick to buy concert tickets whenever they came to Chapel Hill. There was even one incident where I was supposed to interview them for the radio station. There was a comedy of errors, and I got there a bit late, without a recorder, and without the band even knowing about our scheduled interview. They still let us conduct the interview, despite the fact that we were unprepared and they weren’t expecting us. I always thought that David Gedge was a class act simply because of that.
For some reason, it took me a few years to pursue the back catalog, but I was completely blown away when I discovered that their 1989 sophomore album Bizarro was almost as good as Seamonsters. There are individual songs from Bizarro that are twice as good as anything on Seamonsters, and tonight’s song (video) is one of them. “Brassneck” is another. As a whole, though, Bizarro is lesser than Seamonsters because side two is much less impressive. Seamonsters, on the other hand, shines from start to finish.
The band had a long break between 1996 and 2005, but Gedge and Co have released three albums since then. For a long time, I would consider anything after Seamonsters to be “lesser Weddoes”, but I’ve really come to appreciate their newest record Take Fountain (2012). This isn’t about that, though.
This is about the early stuff. This is about one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands.
This is from a live performance in Australia sometime in 2012. Gedge (who is now 53 years old) and the Weddoes have been touring pretty steadily in a “20th anniversary of Seamonsters” capacity for a while, and now also in a “25th anniversary of (their debut album) George Best” for a while. They do that thing where they play the whole album from front to back. At some point, they also played a few Bizarro shows, and this must have been one of them.
In this video, that’s “Pepe Le Moko” playing the bass, and I think she’s way better than any bass player the band has ever had. In fact, it’s her playing that stood out to me as I decided last night that the 2012 album Take Fountain is in no way “lesser Weddoes”. It’s also great to see that the aging Gedge can still throw down.
Enjoy the video, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll return to normal form.