Monday, 19 June 2017

Memories of 2017 gigs #6

The Wedding Present
O2 Academy, Bristol - 15 June 2017
Support: Young Romance

Not really sure what to write about this one. I know some of you have seen the Wedding Present on their 'George Best' 30th Anniversary Tour already, a couple of you have even written about your experiences. The sets have barely changed from date-to-date either. And even if you haven't caught them this time around, most of my readers will be more than familiar with Gedge and his cohorts.

So perhaps I'll start by mentioning the support band Young Romance. They're a boy/girl duo. He plays guitar, has very long hair and wore a shirt Bobby Gillespie would have been proud of circa 1986. She sings, plays drums standing up and wears glitter on her face. Sometimes they sounded like early Kills. I also thought there was a bit of mid-period Gossip in there too. The songs were OK, but the sound let them down a bit. Well worth checking out.

We've never been to Bristol's 02 Academy before, although I have a feeling it was at one point known as The Studio. I did see one gig at The Studio. It was in 1991 and it was... The Wedding Present. I may have remembered this incorrectly, but it was 26 years ago so cut me some slack...

It seems every time I see the Wedding Present nowadays, Gedge has decided to freshen things up once again. This time we get a new guitarist (from Australia) and another new female bass player who, rather brilliantly, also plays keyboards, sometimes while she's playing bass at the same time. She's from Devon though, so obviously naturally talented.

Another observation really came to light about half way through the set. There was a short set of new songs and lesser-known tracks from the band's back catalogue before they began playing 'George Best'. After What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?, Gedge noted: "We're into the 'George Best' part of the set. The songs sound quite similar now." And that's when I realised that, compared to their recent output, they do. No slow songs, lots of furiously strummed trebly semi-acoustic guitar and nothing longer than four minutes. Compare that to last year's ambitious 'Going, Going...' set and it's clear how Gedge has developed over the past 30 years. Yet he remains the inimitable David Gedge, indie legend.

A rousing rendition of Kennedy tacked on as a sort-of non-encore produced a massive mosh and singalong. There may not have been many people under the age of 45 present, but there were still plenty of exuberant voices hollering about apple pie and loving TV shows.

My seventh or eighth Wedding Present gig then (I forget exactly). So how was it? Well, I'll let MrsRobster sum it up with what is very probably the best one-line gig review you'll ever read: "I like seeing the Wedding Present. They're like a satisfying sex session after you haven't had it for a while. You're never disappointed." Quite...

Two of my fave songs from 'George Best' - one recorded during the original tour in 1987, the other captured this year:


  1. Great post, with great live tracks. Like you, I've seen Gedge+3 more times than I care to remember (I use Songkick to track my gig history, and can recommend it). Am also very excited to be seeing TWP in the last batch of four George Best dates in December - cannot wait!

  2. You know that, in a parallel universe, Kennedy is still playing.

  3. I was there too. :) It would have been good to have shaken your hand to say thanks for a great blog and especially for your KoD post....
    It was great to have the full George Best album played alongside a mix of other songs and the new instrumentals Scotland & England.
    I fully agree with MrsRs review! I have never been disappointed with a TWP gig, each of the previous dozen times, in various sized venues have all been great (whoever was playing drums/guitar/bass) For me that night was a very satisfying filling to a perfect sandwich, having seen a pure rock&roll master class from The Thurston Moore Band the night before across the road in the intimate Lantern and finishing the week with a mind blowing show from Kraftwerk.
    BTW The Studio is now student flats and was next door to where The O2 Academy is now, The Wedding Present played there 22 May 91. I use SetList.FM to keep track of who I've seen.

    1. Ah, thanks for that. I've been to the Colston Hall several times recently but not ventured further down the street. I thought it looked vaguely familiar.

      You're not, by any chance, the chap whop complimented me on my t-shirt near the merch stand earier on in the night, are you? He was going to see Kraftwerk too...

  4. It's probably too much to hope for, but I hope the Wedding Present comes back over here for some George Best shows. Pleeeeease, Gedge!

  5. great review. Cheers Mrs Robster!!

    (yours wasn't too bad either old boyo....)