English indie-pop legends The Wedding Present played songs from across their 30-year back catalogue to an adoring crowd in Brisbane (10 July).
The Wedding Present’s set celebrated their latest album ‘Going, Going…’ and the 30th anniversary of their debut ‘George Best’. The Leeds band opened with a spiky rush from the latter, ‘Anyone Can Make A Mistake’.
David Gedge’s voice was in fine form, with his heavy Northern English-intonations showing no signs of aging. He does admit the weather has affected his voice, but his throat spray covers it up completely.
The band dedicated part of their set to what David jokingly described: "A selection of songs from our frankly ground-breaking new LP." Despite the self-deprecation, new songs like the frenetic ‘Two Bridges’ and the ruminative ‘Rachel’ stand tall alongside the classics.
David’s gift for observational lyrics hasn’t waned; the brilliant chorus of ‘Bells’ detailing: 'I called you darling because I’d already forgotten your name / What a total unqualified disaster this all became.'
The Wedding Present has been through 23 members, with David the only constant. The latest are noticeably younger, all injecting their energy into the show.
Alongside new songs and members, David introduced the new feature ‘The Wedding Present Fact Of The Day’ with bassist Danielle Wadey quizzing fans what Brisbane has the largest of. The answer may be ‘City Hall’, but the ecstatic response throughout the night made one answer – ‘Wedding Present fans’ – technically correct.
The 90-minute set celebrated the band’s history, with songs from classic album ‘Seamonsters’ to 2005’s comeback ‘Take Fountain’ appearing. Their third ever single ‘You Should All Keep In Touch With Your Friends’ was poignant due to its inspiration being in attendance.
They closed with hit ‘Brassneck’, with the audience jumping and shouting the title back. Fans know the band doesn’t do requests or encores, but no one left unsatisfied.
It’s hard to argue what to include when The Wedding Present only write perfect songs, but any show they perform with the energy and enthusiasm they gave Brisbane is a perfect show.
Openers Greg Brady And The Anchors were a real treat. Greg has been a mainstay in the Brisbane music scene for 25 year with bands like Cunningham and Clag. The Anchors showed he’s still a gifted writer of wonderfully scrappy, garage pop.
Charles Sale, vocalist-guitarist of Babaganouj, mentioned his annoyance at missing The Wedding Present’s last Brisbane show four years ago. Now, the Brisbane up-and-comers are not only seeing the show, but supported their idols with a set of fantastic hook-filled alt-rock.
The trio of Charles, vocalist-guitarist Ruby McGregor and vocalist-bassist Harriet Pilbeam each sing lead on songs and put the power into power-pop when they harmonise. ‘Hit Song’ lived up to its title; the explosion of Charles’ guitar heroics and the group’s melodies drawing the crowd in.