Monday, May 2, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days (2009 Edition), Day Twenty Nine: Thanks by The Wedding Present

For our penultimate edition of 30 Songs, 30 Days....David Gedge and his fingers of steel.

Hey, you kinda have to have fingers of steel to play the guitar that fast and that hard. This is from Bizarro, an album I picked up from a Salvation Army thrift store around the corner when I was living in Flushing. It wasn't the first time I had encountered Mr. Gedge and his bright, fast musicianship; that would be when I bought a vinyl album of the band from St. Mark's Sounds with a footballer on the cover because I was into picking up random albums in those days and seeing what they sounded like. I'm not sure, but this might very well have been George Best, the band's first album; to be honest, I misplaced it in one of my many moves before I situated myself here in Ridgewood and am only recalling from memory.

And I really, really liked The Wedding Present. Which I guess is not surprising given my adoration of a band that is usually cited as an inspiration for them, Mark E. Smith's Manchester-based shifting coalition The Fall. There's something so invigorating about the too-fast-for-the-freeway guitar licks even as Gedge himself is singing about the sudden realization that he's become a dim afterthought to his ex-girlfriend, that the new man in his life has so rearranged her existence that there's no space for him anymore. More of that 'bright melody/downbeat lyrics' thing, although I've always felt that the way Gedge does play has a razor's cut of anger to it, like he's trying to beat his guitar into submission to avoid facing what he's singing about.

The Wedding Present did break up in 1999. Gedge and his girlfriend founded the band Cinerama...and then decided to rebrand itself as The Wedding Present again. They're still out there performing and recording, and it should be interesting to see what these guys come up with next.
And for good measure, here's the present line-up performing "Interstate 5"....
You'll notice that Gedge's voice has softened along with his guitar playing...but I don't think either has lost their power.

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