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Following on from their brilliant gig at the Cavern playing the Seamonsters LP THE WEDDING PRESENT play their a Watusi LP in this very special show.
"The boy Gedge has written some of the best love songs of the Rock 'n' Roll Era. You may dispute this, but I'm right and you're wrong!"
THE WEDDING PRESENT have had 18 UK Top 40 hit singles... not bad for a band that has, from its inception, stubbornly refused to play the record industry's game. In 1985 David Lewis Gedge boarded a National Express coach in London with 500 records packed into a pair of his mother's suitcases and, in this fashion, the band's debut single Go Out and Get 'Em Boy! was delivered to the distribution company, and The Wedding Present was born. That pioneering spirit has been at the core of the band's philosophy ever since. From George Best, "an unmitigated delight" [NME], the first full-length release on their own Reception Records onwards, the band has charted an appealing, if often eccentric, course of its very own.
DOORS 8-1. 16+ SHOW (bring ID). £16
With their early releases The Wedding Present had acquired a reputation for bittersweet, breathtakingly honest love songs immersed in whirlwind guitars, so it was extraordinary that Ukrainski Vistupi v Johna Peela, with the band exploring traditional Eastern European folk music, should be their major label debut on RCA. "(They) carry off what is basically a bold experiment with verve" [NME]. However, this was soon followed by the more traditionally incendiary Bizarro, "simply unbeatable" [Melody Maker] which featured their first hit single Kennedy.
The next step, made with characteristically twisted Wedding Present logic, was to enlist noise-mongering [and, at that point, relatively unknown] sound engineer Steve Albini's aid at a time when everyone else was releasing 'Madchester' dance mixes. The resulting Seamonster, recorded in the snowy wilds of Minnesota in just 11 days, suggested a more thoughtful Wedding Present. The Guardian newspaper noted that: "Albini has given The Wedding Present considerable weight, with Gedge's voice trickling between banks of scowling guitars". Indeed, the singing ranged from sensual whispering to feverish screams.
The band came up with their next intriguing idea in 1992. By the end of December, The Wedding Present had released twelve singles, one per month, equalled Elvis Presley's 35 year old record for "most hits in one year", rekindled everyone's interest in that ultimate pop format, the 7″ and led the NME to describe the band as "casually revolutionary and underhandedly unique". A gang of impressive names, including Ian Broudie from The Lightning Seeds and legendary Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller collaborated on the industry-challenging project, ultimately to be compiled on the two HIT PARADE albums and awarded "record of the week" by Tony Parsons in The Daily Telegraph.
WATUSI, produced by Steve Fisk (a prime mover in the celebrated avant-garde scene of Seattle), whisked the band off into another new area with its lo-fi pop, three-part a capella harmonies and Waikiki-ready surf strains. This "strong, multifaceted album" [Select], sprinkled with 60s and 70s pastiches, was described by critics as their most varied and dynamic to date. "Watusi is (their) 'White Album', a re-assessment of their sound that finds them doing what they do best" [Melody Maker].
The follow-up, self-produced album, Saturnalia was again released to a flurry of critical approval. The NME exclaimed that "David Gedge has just written one of the best pop albums of the year" while The Melody Maker noted that in the new recordings, which were completed in the London studios belonging to The Cocteau Twins, you could "hear an experimentalism that would send half of New York back to the lab".