The Wedding Present are one of those bands that I seem to be intertwined with having seen them many times over a long period of time. The first time I remember seeing them was in Leeds in about 1994 at the Town and Country Club and not that long after they had released their single a month for a year (this was big news at the time) and one aspect that can always be said about the Weddos is that they have been consistent live, regardless of the line up, over the years. I have so many great memories of them playing from the first reunion tour, to the Cinerama days and the dual stage all-dayers they used to host at the Sheffield Leadmill, to walking past a bar in Atlanta and seeing them advertised as playing the following evening playing the Bizarro album in full and watching them in an entirely different cultural setting. So, when it was announced (on the Wednesday) that they were going to be playing in the very small The Lantern Venue in Halifax on the Sunday night for the upcoming Tommy tour I was keen to get tickets.

The night itself could not have been any sweeter; very warm and muggy. It was a perfect Sunday night to be going out and Halifax was buzzing as a result. The Lantern itself is a relatively new addition to the Halifax scene and consists of a bar at street level selling a range of craft ales and a third-floor gig venue of about 150 capacity (although it seemed smaller). There was no support tonight and so we turned up about 15 minutes before the gig and got ourselves placed ideally down the front.

But what a gig, this was almost definitely the best I had ever seen them play. I think it was probably a combination of the intimacy of the venue, the crowd, the atmosphere created by that venue, the set list choice and the band just being on fire. For me there is nothing more of a testament to a band than when you come out at the end of the night and you are talking non-stop and feel enthralled to be alive.

In the past, when a band was touring an album from their back catalogue they tended to play that album exactly as it is on record and then add a couple of favourites at the end of the gig. This can work on certain albums, but in a way sometimes makes for a little bit of a staid performance. Tommy, the album The Wedding Present are touring, was a collection in the first instance of their early singles, so playing it whilst scattering other classics in between worked extremely well.

The set kicked off in the best way possible with “Corduroy” and “Two Bridges” with “Brassneck” also being included in the opening sequence. The crowd, were joyful, the place was steaming and the set was off. The recorded voice of John Peel introducing the first single he ever played on the radio announced “Go Out and Get Them Boy”. Elsewhere in the set we had the Wedding Present Fact Of The Day – a controversial (to Gedge anyway) fact about Wainhouse Tower (a folly in Halifax) and also a conversation with the audience about the only other time that The Wedding Present had ever played Halifax. (The Piece Hall in 1985).

This was a more relaxed Wedding Present than I have seen for a long time and as result it was a storming set with highlights being Felicity, Kennedy and a great instrumental outro with “Take Me” to finish. The Wedding Present, did not of course do an encore (they never have) but it didn’t matter because we were already wandering off into the hot night, chattering away ten to the dozen about probably the most vital Wedding Present gig we had ever seen yet.

Dave Shevyn (GIK UK)

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