The Brudenell Social Club seems like the perfect locale for Leeds’s own Wedding Present, but it’s surprising to learn that tonight is David Gedge’s first visit to the venue having moved from Leeds in the early 2000s.
Typically, though, on stage Gedge looks perfectly at home and the crowd of devotees are welcoming as ever. It’s also perhaps one of the most fitting gigs in the series of shows the Brudenell is hosting for its centenary celebrations; despite having never played here before, The Wedding Present’s return to Leeds always feels like a homecoming event.
Pioneers of the quiet-loud pop song, The Wedding Present have always traded in lust, vengeance and heartbreak, and it’s fair to say that stylistically, the band haven’t changed much in their 26 year existence.
Their frontman still excels at bemoaning love, infidelity and railing against his own inadequacies, all elements that are captured beautifully in the set’s opener ‘Dalliance’, but the high turnover of personnel is something that remains in constant flux, and tonight’s band is probably the tightest in recent years.
Katherine Wallinger is comparatively cool and detached next to David Gedge’s typically animated personae, while drummer Charles Layton is particularly impressive in nailing the twitchy rhythms of his revered predecessor.
Though not quite as raucous as 1991, the year they released their magnum opus Seamonsters, tonight’s performance is relatively languid in comparison, but it doesn’t deter some of the very excited people at the front – mostly 50-something men all of a certain age – from ardently moshing throughout the whole performance, while David Gedge is passionate as ever, writhing around on stage and acting out the words with sheer conviction.
Their cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘She’s My Best Friend’ causes a lull in atmosphere despite sounding routinely endearing, but it’s new single ‘Two Bridges’ that picks the pace up again, while sounding familiarly bitter-sweet, but the real pinnacle comes towards the show’s climax as the band end with the petulant
‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’ and a particularly zealous rendition of indie-disco classic ‘Kennedy’, both of which are decided reminders of The Weddoes’ timeless quality.
Gig date: December 1