Sunday, 8 December 2019

Memories of 2019 gigs #1-2

You probably won't have noticed, but the one thing I have been doing during my extended hiatus is working on my gig list and keeping it up-to-date. It's been a strange year for shows really. There haven't been as many as in recent years, they've all been in Cardiff and most of them have been for, what you might call, 'bands of a certain vintage'.

I know some of you used to enjoy my gig reviews, so I'm devoting Sundays this month to my live experiences of 2019, starting with these:

The Coral
Tramshed - Thursday, 14th March 2019
Support: Cut Glass Kings, Marvin Powell

I said once before on this blog - I fucking love the Coral. But, somewhat bizarrely, I had never seen them live before this year. Can you believe that? Shocking. So I was excited for this one. Both support acts are signed to the Coral's own label, though we arrived too late for opener Marvin Powell. We walked in to a gargantuan noise in the form of Cut Glass Kings, a two-piece in the mould of Black Keys and Royal Blood. And that's pretty much what they sounded like, to be honest. Some good tunes too.

My anticipation of seeing the Coral might well have led to disappointment. They are one of the most consistently brilliant singles bands of the past 20 years, and most of their albums are top notch too - 2016's 'The Distance Inbetween' being the highlight IMO. Such a solid back catalogue should lead to a cracking live set, shouldn't it? Thankfully, there was no disappointment. What a good band The Coral are live. Forget that the set was rammed with classics, crowdpleasers and all the best of the recent material - this was one of the tightest, best-sounding shows I've been to in recent years.

I often point out highlights in my reviews, but that would be impossible in this case. I've taken the liberty of including the setlist below so you can see what they played. If you're a Coral fan you'll probably wet yourself.

Sweet Release, Chasing the Tail of a Dream, Something Inside of Me, Outside My Window, She’s a Runaway, Jacqueline, Pass It On, Bill McCai, In the Morning, Holy Revelation, Miss Fortune, In the Rain, 1000 Years, Reaching Out for a Friend, Eyes Like Pearls, Heart Full of Soul (Yardbirds cover), Stormbreaker. Encore: Goodbye, Dreaming of You.

Here's a sublime, beautifully rich rendition of Eyes Like Pearls. Stunning!

The Wedding Present
Tramshed - Thursday, 2nd May 2019
Support: The Flatmates

Yeah yeah, another year, another Wedding Present gig. Nothing to see here? Well, maybe, maybe not, but think about this - and prepare yourselves... this was the tour to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the band's second album 'Bizarro'. Let that sink in a moment - THIRTY YEARS since the release of 'Bizarro'. If that depresses you, I suggest you go and give the record a spin at high volume. It'll make you feel better.

As if that isn't enough to make you feel old, the re-emergence of fellow C86-ers The Flatmates surely must evoke some distant memories in some of you. There was bound to have been some murmurs of "Now this is what you call music, not like the crap you hear today..." etc from certain members of the audience. To be fair, I never really got into the Flatmates - this was a time when I was in flux between being in school having crap music taste to going to college and discovering the Wedding Present, so I guess they flew under my radar first time around. They did only release five singles at the tail end of the 80s so that's understandable I suppose. But there were still plenty of knowing smiles in the crowd when Happy All The Time was aired.

The boy Gedge has tweaked the Wedding Present line-up yet again, but drummer Charles Layton is revealed as being the longest-serving member of the band bar Gedge himself, having been a constant fixture behind the kit for a whole decade now. However, I'm not sure how old the female members of this line-up would have been when 'Bizarro' came out...

Of course, all songs from that record were played in order, although they were interspersed with choice cuts from the Wedding Present's vast back catalogue - some obvious, but many not so (I mean, when was the last time they opened with two b-sides like Dan Dare and Nothing Comes Easy?). But that's the beauty of a Wedding Present gig nowadays, you always know what you're going to get, while never really knowing what you're going to get

While performance-wise this wasn't one of the best Weddoes shows I've been to, it was still a Wedding Present show, so hugely enjoyable.

Very little decent live footage from 2019 online, but I found this from a show in Sweden later in the tour. I'm sure it won't disappoint...


  1. Coincidentally, I'd also describe myself as fucking loving The Coral and I've never seen them live either. That setlist is a bit of a blinder. I did catch another storming Wedding Present show in 2019 though.

  2. Well, for a start, welcome back buddy. Good to have you around, even if it is for a short time.

    I also saw The Wedding Present on their Bizarro 30 tour, last weekend as it goes. Magnificent as always, but the inner nerd in me didn't like them sprinkling the set with tracks from the album as opposed to them just performing the bloody thing, in sequence, like they did when I saw them on the Bizarro 20 tour.

    Earlier in the day, I had the pleasure of watching the early years documentary Something Left Behind at the Crouch End Picturehouse, and what a thing of beauty it is. Go see if you get chance, or buy it. I'll do a link (which sounds much more unpleasant than intended) over at my place soonish.

    Even better, afterwards we had a Q&A with Gedge himself (and the director Andrew Jezard - cool name!) which was interesting and entertaining in equal parts. (I fear I may have done this a disservice here....)

    Anyway, welcome back (again). You've been missed.