Posted in SHOFT on Sunday 27th February 2005 at 11:55pm

Thinking back, my long love affair with The Wedding Present began before the internet, before I'd settled into a regular job and before I'd lost most of my hair. I must also confess that they date back to a time before I had really experienced the miserable and painful situations that sometimes feature in David Gedge's lyrics. Strangely, they went 'on hold' in 1997 just as my troubles in the romantic arena began, although a Cinerama gig did once feature as part of a fin-de-siecle reconcilliation!

Strange then to be setting off to see them tonight. Our Rail Replacement Bus to Bristol sped through a chilly but sunny evening, and my mind was on other things through much of the journey. I stopped for a quick pint before wandering to the Bierkeller - a venue I hadn't set foot in for maybe twelve years - my strongest memories of the place being Nirvana, messy and punky on their Nevermind tour - and some sixth form girls from my old school running away from the stage in horror at the noise when Hole began playing as support on a Mudhoney tour!

Not much had changed, the same sticky carpet, tiny bar, inconveniently pillared auditorium and low stage. Bumped into a dedicated Irish fan who had followed the band on the early Irish dates of the tour and was now dashing around the UK by National Express coach to catch more of the tour. Support act Persil correctly divined that the audience didn't care what they did - nothing personal, but when you're about to meet old friends, its difficult to concentrate on making new ones. On the dot of nine o'clock, the band ambled on individually to the strains of 'On Ramp'. A particularly uplifting cheer went up for Mr Gedge himself, and soon enough it could have been 1990 again as the thunderous ending of 'Interstate 5' gave way to the shimmering opening notes of 'Crawl'.

But of course, it isn't. There is a whole new record of emotional, edgy music to hear live for the first time. Perhaps the most consistent and strongest since 'Seamonsters' in my opinion. The new songs are mixed with a little of everything from the past - including a frantic 'Once More' and a much appreciated 'Kennedy' (not a favourite of mine). A technical hitch gives a chance for the good-natured banter between stage and audience. The odd Cinerama song is thrown in too as a reminder that David hasn't really been away - 'Health and Efficiency' in particular is quite stunning. 'Careless' provokes a comment from DLG that people may not be familar 'with that part' of his career. In fairness, its mainly people of my age, their gleaming pates bobbing in the spotlights. David notes that he barely needs to tell us the band don't do encores because he suspects we may have seen them before.

By 22:40 I'm wandering through the building site of a bus station wondering if I can get the last bus home and not have to wait for the 00:40 Rail Replacement Service. In the midst of turbulent times, in the freezing cold and slightly menacing surroundings of St. James Barton, I am very very glad I came.



I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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