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Wedding Present - Manchester Academy 3, Manchester, 21/2/2005

  by Mark Rowland

published: 12 / 2 / 2005

Wedding Present - Manchester Academy 3, Manchester, 21/2/2005


At an audience largely dominated by over excited middle aged men, Mark Rowland watches the reformed Wedding Present play a flawless set to an exuberant crowd, but sees David Gedge's Cinerama songs go down less well

Manchester University’s student union building is usually filled with the youth of the city, but tonight upstairs is dominated by over excited middle aged men. They’ve all gathered here for one prestigious event: the first time that the Wedding Present has played here in about eight years. Frontman David Gedge reformed the band last year. Well, kind of. Gedge’s post-Wedding Present band, Cinerama, slowly got more and more noisy until they became the Wedding Present again. Not that anyone here cares. Most are just glad to see Gedge playing Wedding Present songs again. Not everyone in the audience fits the typical ‘Weddoes fan’ description, however; there are a few younger members in the audience, either recent converts or curious students. Support band Persil play lovely cheery indie-pop with a drum machine instead of a drummer. This gives them quite a lot of rhythmic power, which surprisingly compliments their songs nicely. They play an excellent set, proving that feedback-laden guitar and heavy bass can go hand-in-hand with cheesy keyboard sounds and sunny melodies. Some of the Weddoes diehards don’t seem to be impressed – possibly because the band uses electronic drums, possibly because they are not the Wedding Present – but most find their set uplifting. Next Gedge and co take to the stage. Kicking off with ‘Interstate 5’ off new album ‘Take Fountain’, the packed out Academy instantly gets going. As well as other tracks off the new album like ‘Queen Anne’ and recent single ‘I’m From Further North Than You’, we are treated to Wedding Present classics like ‘Drive’, ‘Dalliance’ and ‘Kennedy’. They play through the best of their back catalogue flawlessly and Gedge is a very charismatic and funny frontman, deflecting odd heckle after odd heckle from the diehards. After Gedge makes a comment about being the oldest in the venue, a fan calls out: “I still fancy you!” Quick as a flash, Gedge shoots back: “A lot of people fancy me, my friend.” The Wedding Present’s diehard fans are a strange bunch. Despite them all being seemingly in love with Gedge to a scary degree, a lot of them don’t like Cinerama. When Gedge announces that they are about to play a Cinerama song, a lot of boos can be heard as well as claps. Why this is I’m not sure – Cinerama still did songs in a Gedge style, albeit a bit quieter, and the Wedding Present’s sound has changed a lot over the last twenty years. It must be that the diehards love the Wedding Present so much that nothing else is good enough for them. Aah, kind of sweet really when you think of it like that. Then again, considering that Wedding Present fans used to like pelting the band with apple pies, maybe it’s not that surprising. The band finishes with a personal favourite, the excellent ‘What have I Said Now?’ off the band’s equally excellent second (as long as you don’t count singles compilation ‘Tommy’) album, ‘Bizarro’. The band doesn’t do encores, and although there’s slight disappointment that such a great set is over, no-one goes home feeling dissatisfied. Let’s hope they stick together this time.

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Wedding Present - Manchester Academy 3, Manchester, 21/2/2005

Wedding Present - Manchester Academy 3, Manchester, 21/2/2005

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