Gig review: The Wedding Present, Glasgow

At the art school in Glasgow. Picture: Creative Commons

At the art school in Glasgow. Picture: Creative Commons

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As frontman David Gedge aptly surmised this was “a Wedding Present you’ve never seen before”.

The Wedding Present | The Art School, Glasgow | Rating **

On their latest tour the redoubtable Leeds indie-rock veterans beloved by John Peel back in the day have swollen their frequently-shifting line-up to a six-piece, and invited audiences to be seated, as they present an audio-visual played-in-full representation of their 10th album Going, Going…

A kind of conceptual travelogue of America less-visited, each of its 20 tracks are named after different obscure US towns. Musically it’s rooted in familiar Weddoes tropes – crunchy spiky guitars, lyrics soaked in romantic fatalism – but augmented with a few Mogwai-esque soundtrack-y instrumentals.

The visual element of the show felt distinctly underwhelming – twinkling fairy lights, and a projector screen showing wholly uninvolving video loops, mostly on a watery theme (waves, raindrops, that kind of thing).

There are undoubtedly some very good songs on Going, Going… – the by turns serene and stormy Kittery for one, and the bouncy melodic Ten Sleep. But their austere presentation felt all wrong, doing solid material little of the justice a more traditional set interspersed with catalogue classics might have. “I see this more as an art installation,” Gedge mused at one point. The chorus of gently mocking “ooohs” he got back from the crowd in response to that spoke volumes.

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