Last Friday night saw the return of The Wedding Present to the Earl. For once, I arrived early enough to catch the full sets of both opening bands.
First up was Tentonic, a local four piece. They played a solid set that matched very well with the headliners. While they sounded a bit too much like Oasis from time to time, their songs were solid if not earthshattering. Next up was Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves. They also played solidly, if somewhat woodenly. Maybe it was my sobriety, but I found both opening sets enjoyable at the time, if somewhat forgettable once some time had passed.
I certainly can't say the same thing about The Wedding Present. They possessed an energy that totally eclipsed that of the two opening acts. Playing songs from a wide range of their catalog, including two Cinerama songs and their first ever single. Highlights included "Swimming Pools, Movie Stars", "I'm from Further North than You", and a rousing version of "Brassneck" to close out the show. True to their word, no encore occurred, but I couldn't complain too much as the show proper was thrilling enough. My only complaint was their omission of "My Favorite Dress".
Since the show, I've been thinking about how to fit The Wedding Present in context with their contemporaries, and I can't really figure it out. They don't really fit the genres of British music going on when they were in their heyday, such as Echo & the Bunnyment or The Smiths. Admittedly, Echo & the Bunnymen's live work sounds more similar than what you'd find on their albums. Nor do they square well with the sounds that following during their career, including the Madchester sound, shoegaze, or Brit Pop. The only American analog I could really come up with was the Pixies, but that doesn't feel quite right either. If anyone has some light to shed on this, I'd appreciate it.
NP: "Brassneck" - The Wedding Present