Not only does David Gedge, as frontman of the Wedding Present, continue to write excellent songs about love and relationships in all their twisted manifestations (see new album 'Valentina' for continued proof of his ability to unearth diamonds among the discarded slag heaps of life) but he still finds time to put together two stunning mini-festivals each August Bank Holiday weekend too. Originally, a single mini-festival (At the Edge of the Sea) birthed in Brighton in 2009, Gedge expanded his efforts last year to include a northern version taking place in 'Last of the Summer Wine' country, Holmfirth, a couple of days later under the moniker of 'At the Edge of the Peaks' due to its land-locked location!

The Wedding Present always headline the festivals and Gedge's other band, Cinerama, always make their annual emergence from retirement to get proceedings off to an impressive start. Gedge also hand picks a line-up that not only brings together established acts and newcomers, but also boasts an international flavour too.

2012 is no different, but Cinerama are actually the second act on and yet again prove that Gedge rarely releases a weak track by providing a sublime 30 minute set made up mainly of album tracks and b-sides that culminates with the brilliant '10 Denier'. Opening song 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' is equally impressive, but the wonderful 'Careless', that is jam-packed with all the trade mark Gedge angst, just about tops them both. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the afternoon/evening.

The next act to really catch the eye and ear is the perennial underdog David Ford. Despite a string of quality releases over the the last 10 years, Ford has only experienced some near misses with fame and fortune and never receives the universal acclaim his output has deserves. To his eternal credit, however, he has never thrown the towel in and has been responsible for some of the greatest live performances and beautifully emotive songs I have ever been privilieged to witness/hear.

This show is right up there too, and the fact that Ford overcomes a clutch of technical difficulties in order to deliver it makes it even more special. He also has to completely re-jig his set list, but the watching audience are blissfully unaware as he unfurls a fine mix of songs old and new rich in real emotion and heartfelt honesty. 'State of the Union' is a show-stopping masterclass in live looping, while 'To Hell with the World' is simply heartbreaking. The new song Ford finishes with is a whirlwind of pent-up feelings and a lyrical master-piece as he attacks headlong his own position in the music business. In a word it's genius.

Later recently reformed Cud provide a joyous return to my late teens/early twenties as they belt through an energetic set that draws mainly from their debut album 'When In Rome', 'Kill Me' and follow up 'Leggy Mambo'. Songs like 'I've Had It with Blondes' and 'Robinson Crusoe' sound as fresh today as they did twenty-odd years ago, and the audience of middle-aged fans with less hair and bigger waist-lines than of yore lap up every thrilling second of it. Singer Carl Puttnam still has an aura about him as he grooves round the stage ,and William Potter remains the cheeky-chappy bassist with his trademark bobbing. Original guitarist Mike Dunphy, having missed previous re-unions, makes up for lost time by delivering a near faultless display of fret work, culminating in the riotous finale of 'Only a Prawn in Whitby'.

Most bands would find it difficult to follow all the quality that had gone before, but the Wedding Present aren't most bands. Veterans of the indie scene since the mid-eighties and with Gedge at the helm they have been consistent performers for many a year and tonight is no exception as they play their 21 year old 'Seamonsters' album in its entirety. B

efore that though the band delve into their fine back catalogue with a four song salvo to whet the appetite. Recent track 'Fidelio' opens proceedings, with 'One Day All This Will Be Yours' and 'Dreamworld' providing a little more obscurity before 'Love Machine' ushers in the main event. The quality of the songs on 'Seamonsters' has never been in doubt, and for many it is Gedge's magnum opus.

Tonight's performance certainly does the songs justice and the crowd go crazy during 'Dalliance', 'Dare' and 'Corduroy'. They are also happy to sing along to the quieter moments such as 'Rotterdam' and 'Suck'. Whilst the Wedding Present do not do encores, they do perform one additional song after 'Octopussy', the last track on 'Seamonsters', in the shape of 'You Should Always Keep in Touch With Your Friends' which gives the moshers one last thrill.

2013 is going to have be something to come close to matching this. Hats off to Mr Gedge

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Commenting On: Picturehouse, Holmfirth, 26/8/2012 - At the Edge of the Peaks

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