The Wedding Present

RICHARD BALLS The Waterfront, Norwich


> The Waterfront, Norwich

Several bands that were once granted the John Peel seal of approval have graced the Waterfront in recent times.

Derry's finest, The Undertones, legendary Manchester band The Fall, and last night's headline act the Wedding Present.

Led by singer-songwriter David Gedge, they cut their first radio session for the late DJ in February 1986 and their frenzied debut album - named in tribute to soccer star George Best - won the hearts of students everywhere. Almost 20 years on, the music has changed, but Mr Gedge's infectious, conversational delivery and love of pop has remained.

Support came from unsigned Dublin band Betamax Format - a kind of funked-up version of Gary Numan's Tubeway Army. They showed sufficient invention to indicate that a deal won't be long.

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Then came the Wedding Present, who ensured that those who saw them at Norwich Arts Centre earlier this year saw a very different set.

Promoting their most recent album Take Fountain last time out, Gedge and co triggered a sea of sweating bodies at the front with a trip into their frenzied past, with songs such as Don't Talk Just Kiss. Newer tracks including Always The Quiet One and I'm From Further North than You, however were equally as enthralling while the jarring guitars of Love Slave demonstrated the change in direction that Gedge's songwriting has taken.

His name is apparently from Norfolk and the gig was a “sort of home coming,” he said. Wedding Present gigs generally seem to have the feel of a private fan club party.

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