The Wedding Present, The Forum, Kentish Town, 27th November 2021
The Wedding Present’s Seamonsters holds embarrassing memories for me. I saw them in 1995 at Camden Dingwalls and went up to David Gedge in my Seamonsters t-shirt. I nervously asked him if he would sign it. He kindly obliged and I turned for him to sign my back. But, ever practical, I paused, turned back and asked him if his pen would run in the wash? He looked bewildered, assured me it wouldn’t and signed away. But my friend Loz started pissing herself laughing at my ridiculous concern and Gedge looked at me as if I was quite tragic as I shuffled away…to be fair, I was. Oh dear.
Tonight, The Wedding Present are back, once again touring Seamonsters, plus a greatest hits set, interspersed with a couple of new songs from next year’s 24 Songs project (they are once again releasing a single a month, as they did in 1992).
If you don’t know The Wedding Present, you can read more about them and my love for their debut album - There's Always Something Left Behind - The Wedding Present's George Best. Suffice to say, they have been making variations of the same record for the last 35+ years and there's nowt wrong with that at all. It's an ever-changing lineup, with only Gedge the one consistency. 29 members at last count have made or make up the semi-legendary Wedding Present.
This line up has had a good lockdown - they released the fabulous Locked Down And Stripped Back reinterpretations of some of their greatest songs, whilst also planning and writing songs for the 24 Songs project and arranging all the marketing and production for this.
Back out on tour they have adopted matching black jump suits. Having given up on the hair dye, Gedge looks dignified with his jet white hair. My friend Stevey thinks he looks like Andy Warhol dressed as a vicar; I think he bears a startling resemblance to former Labour Chancellor, Alastair Darling, though without the Gallagher eyebrows. Either way its good he is more himself.
They play the whole of Seamonsters first - when it was released it was a harsher, heavier, Steve Albini produced Weddoes. Though I loved it, it was never as close to my heart as George Best and Bizarro, but it's great. Live it stands up 30 years on, heavy, punchy and the lyrics as ever piercing our hearts as Gedge always did. Lovenest is the standout from this part of the set.
The second half motors along - two new songs are played and whilst Gedge expects this to be the time everyone goes to the loo, both are strong and well received. We Interrupt Our Programme and Each Time You Open Your Eyes will be great additions to next year's 24 Songs.
Blue Eyes is still wonderful ("There's a lot of things I used to say, but that all changes from today"), A Million Miles and Anyone Can Make A Mistake crackle along at speed. Kennedy has the already surprisingly buoyant moshpit fully lose its shit and Bewitched is still bewitching.
A special nod to the moshpit who were going all night - fair play peeps, good work at our age. Elsewhere, my friend is at a New Model Army gig, where the fans have built a three person tall tower - I think the Weddoes fans efforts are more sensible!
They finish with Crawl, from the 3 Songs ep. It is, in my humble opinion, their finest moment. Gentle, but building up to a noisy finish. “Everyone here can be a millionaire
Just take these wings and fly up into the air” is his most evocative opening line. Tonight it brings a wonderful show to a perfect ending.
As always, no encore and we leave. We agree that that's probably enough of the album anniversary tours - we've seen them play anniversary tours for Seamonsters, Bizarro, Hit Parade and George Best more than once, but this is definitely it we agree. But really I know, if they toured the whole of Watusi, I would be there like a shot....