Like many gigs at the 02 in Leicester which is part of the University of Leicester, this gig is downgraded to the older building, Queens Hall, in the Percy Gee Building, which is fine by me, as the 02 itself is too new for me.

Taffy kicks the evening off. A four-piece Tokyo-based band, Taffy signed to ClubAC30 in England, and have in two years toured here twice and already delivered two fine albums. The band spice up the Britpop sounds of England from 1991 to 1994, and make it as essential as it was in its glory days. This all makes good sense as the Wedding Present are doing their 1992 and 1993 compilations ‘Hit Parade 1 and ‘Hit Parade 2’ in their entirety tonight. Taffy's Nugazed-up anthems of England's former glories shine bright tonight, as they play to a crowd that never came out to see them last time they visited Leicester at Lock 42 last year. Tonight they are spunky and fiery and far more geared up more than the bands that inspired them such as Elastica and Echobelly. For me their highlight, which is a 7 inch clear vinyl Single on ClubAC30, is their reinvention of the Cure's ‘Boys Don't Cry’, which they deconstruct and slow down, adding a shoegazing element and enough Paisley flowers to the mix to covert the new crowd. They are a lovely warm-up.

The Wedding Present have been around since 1985, and even before that when they were the Lost pandas. David Lewis Gedge is the only original in the band, but it his band so he is their director and leader, The band have been through a number of line-up changes, and, like a lot of indie bands that started off indie before being snapped up by a major they are now 100 per cent indie again, releasing their records on their own label Scopitones. The band always had a harshness to them that made them a lot of friends and fans alike, and one of John Peel’s favourite bands.

A number of their albums are ‘John Peel Sessions’ albums. They were also on the now legendary ‘C-86’ tape, which is soon to be expanded into a double CD album release on Cherry Red. Other than Primal Scream, they are the only band from that a compilation to be still producing music. The Wedding Present, however, did fold for a few years so that Gedge could go in a different more Cinemascopic direction in the form of Cinerama, who have now released nearly as much material as the Wedding Present. The band have been loyal to their fan base, and kept it too, even though the times have changed.

As Primal Scream had got loved and doped up, Manchester had become Madchester and Seattle had grunged up the world, the Wedding Present had to in 1992 come up with a new plan, so decided to release a new 7 inch single one a month for a year, and record a cover version for its B side. Having previously toured earlier albums in full before, they are playing all these singles tonight, which the Wedding Present subsequently gathered together on the ’Hit Parade 1’ and ‘Hit Parade 2’ compilations.. Originally a good idea, some of the earlier singles gave the band big exposure on the likes on ‘Top of the Pops’, while others didn't fare so well,

By the time the band come on, the large old hall, is full both of grey hairs and students. ‘Spiderman’ from ‘El Ray’ kicks the gig off, before David then tells us that they are going to play a few selections from their huge back catalogue before they deliver the reason why we are here. ‘Spiderman’, although a recent number, has all the familiar Wedding Present qualities, David Gedge's street poetry,edgy guitar, tight bass and solid drums.

‘Brassneck’ is delivered third in, and, while being a greatest hit, doesn't cause the waves to separate like it use too.’ 524 Fidelio’ again is recent, a song about an astronaut, which has a more cinematic feel, and, sung almost as a duet between Gedge and bassist Katherine Wallinger, finally gets the crowd going.

Lou Reed passed away a few days before, so for the time being the band have put back into their set their slacker version of ‘She's My Best Friend,’ which could have sat on the Velvet Underground’s album ‘Loaded’ with ease. They also play their new single, the wonderful punky ‘Two Bridges’ which shows the band have lost none of their spirit and anger.

Then it's straight into ‘The Hit Parade’, and twelve A sides from twelve seven inch singles. January's ‘Blue Eyes’ is classic the Wedding Present, forward and kicking. February's ‘Go Go Dancer’ is even grittier still, and very much a sign of the changing of the times as Subpop was slowly breaking down the door.

March's ‘3’ has a jangly sound, but it's typically bittersweet and its riffs are as solid as the Pixies, ‘Silver Shorts’, ‘Come Play With Me’ and ‘California’ start a mosh pit, the first I have seen since moving here to Leicester two years ago.

‘Flying Saucer’ is Twitter's favourite of the singles and much dancing takes place because of it, but it is basically sci-fi nonsense with decent riffs, ‘Boing’, ‘Love Slave’, ‘Sticky’ and ‘The Queen of Outer Space’ and final single ‘No Christmas’ are decent enough, but you can see why the band were losing their credibility at the time as so much was changing around them. While solid songs, they are not as strong as the spring/summer season numbers.

And so the album comes to a close. Dave introduces the band, explains that they don’t do encores and then launches into early single, ‘My Favourite Dress’, and a B-side from that period, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’, which, sung in a punky Lou Reed fashion, ends what has been a fine gig in good form.


The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Marie Hazelwood.















Related Links:

https://scopitones.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/weddingpresen
https://www.facebook.com/TheWeddingPresentOfficial


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