I’ve had the fortune of seeing The Wedding Present a few times in my colourful life, most recently, it was at Bristol’s O2 Academy where they were supporting The Wonder Stuff but I reach back even further in my mind to recall shows at Exeter Cavern (where we were watching them this evening), Exeter Lemon Grove and dare I say it, The Great Hall at Exeter University (my mind is rather fuzzy around the early 90’s so I can’t be 100% sure).
They were to play to a sell out crowd this evening, no surprises there I hear you cry, chatting to David Gedge at the merchandise table ahead of the show, he was in high spirits and looking forward to taking the room on a roller coaster tour through Tommy and other tracks from their cavernous back catalogue.
Indie/alt/pop duo Young Romance opened up the evening, owing to running a little late, we missed most of their set but I chatted to a couple of people who had made it there on time and said that they really enjoyed their set and were definitely going to check out their second album Don’t Look which is available now.
There was talk that The Weddoes were going to steam through Tommy in its entirety and then play a bunch of hits from other albums for the rest of the set but as they took to the stage, David thanked the audience for coming and explained that they’d be playing the album in its entirety BUT peppered throughout the evening.
About 5 tracks in, a recording of the late, great John Peel rumbled over the PA system, he went on to say how he had received a demo tape from a young Leeds gentleman called David Gedge who was now in a band called The Wedding Present and introduced “Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy”, the opening track from Tommy, and so it began!
Apart from “Felicity” and “You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends”, the band stuck to the running order of Tommy and by the time “My Favourite Dress” echoed through The Cavern, everyone was just about spent! I was particularly pleased to hear “Dalliance” and “Dare” lifted from their 1991 album Sea Monsters, one of my favourite albums by TWP.
They closed the show with a tremendous rendition of “No Christmas” and as the audience already knew, they don’t do encores!
It was a pleasure to see David and his cohorts enjoying themselves so much on stage, he was never a man of many words but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of between song banter afforded to the room full of die hard fans of the band and they even threw in a bit of humour midway through the set with The Wedding present Fact of The Day which was read by guitarist Danielle Wadey (Who I never knew came from Plymouth), the fact was something along the lines of Exeter being the LAST place to try and hang someone for witchcraft (Alice Molland in 1685), granted, someone did shout this out before Danielle had the chance to provide the answer but even so, it was a very interesting fact and one that I will certainly be keeping in my memory banks for the future in case it ever comes up in a pub quiz!
Looking back over the years, it seems that we see The Wedding Present every couple of years but I was amazed when David said that they’ll be on tour AGAIN in 2019 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ludicrously fantastic Bizarro album which I fell head over heels in love with way back in 1989. As if this news wasn’t enough, he also announced that they’ll be playing at Exeter Phoenix in June, make sure you chalk it up on your calendars as again, it won’t be long until the tickets all sell out!
It was a great night of music, I caught up with a few old friends who I hadn’t seen for a few years and made a few new ones too, roll on June 2019 as I need to hear “Kennedy” at full volume once again!
Review by Steve Muscutt
Photography by Rhodri Cooper