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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Best Gig I Ever Done See #3 - The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present
The Duchess Of York, Leeds 1989

I mentioned previously in The Edsel Auctioneer post how the lure of bands like The Wedding Present led me to choose Leeds Poly as my seat of learning at the tail end of the 1980's, and yet again one of my bestest gigs EVER was at the legendary Duchess Of York.

By the autumn of 1989 The Wedding Present were one of the biggest indie bands in the UK (having filled the almighty vacuum created by the demise of The Smiths) and were about to release their major label debut album "Bizarro" on RCA. Having already seen them play some pretty large venues such as Notts Trent Poly and Confetti's, a nightclub in Derby, it's hard to explain how incredible it was to see them in a tiny venue like The Duchess - particularly as we only stumbled upon the gig by accident.

Me and my mate Woody from back home had inexplicably decided to go see Sarah Records also-rans St Christopher play. I don't think I'd even heard them at this point (I'm sure if I had then I wouldn't have gone along - they were pretty ordinary. The singer's voice was like a proto-Coner Oberst doing Larry The Lamb impressions plus he was damn ugly). It must have been a quiet night and the boredom got the better of us.

Upon arriving at The Duchess, we paid our couple of quid and were promptly informed by the guy on the door that The Wedding Present were doing a secret warm-up gig and St Christopher were just the support act.

And so it was we found ourselves a few feet from the stage, packed like Sardines, bouncing around to an all-new Wedding Present set. I mostly remember Grapper grinning like a lunatic through the whole thing, clearly having the time of his life, and then walking back to the bus shivering as the sweat started to freeze in our clothes.

I guess at this point I could bleat on like Old-Man Indiepop about how they were a much better band back then and post something from Bizarro, but whilst I DO still think of the Gedge/Grapper/Gregory/Smith line-up as THE Wedding Present they are still going (albeit David Gedge and the Session Cats) and I ought to give them their due - so it's the latest BBC Session that I'll go for. Four cover versions, all great songs that seem to work well when Gedged. Take it

Wedding Present 2006 BBC Covers Session

Buy Bizarro at Amazon

Oh and also the following year we saw them play at The Coliseum in Leeds - a much bigger venue where they filmed the live video "*Punk" - another memorable gig if only because they had to leave the lights on for all the cameras and that made it so ludicrously hot that they had to keep throwing water on the crowd. So (as I said I wouldn't do it) here is the obligatory Bizarro track "Bewitched" on YouTube

Look out for the floppy-haired mong who appears shoulder-high in the crowd after 10 seconds - that's me!


  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger stevedomino said…

    blimey - that's some floppy hair you have there, young francis... the gig at Confetti's was the first gig I ever saw - the derby music scene truly is a very small thing.


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