The Wedding Present - Cardiff Globe

Back in 1990, twenty years seemed like an eternity. Hell, some of us hadn’t even experienced enough of life to be able to give an informed opinion as to what it might be like. Not that a young lad about town had much cause to contemplate such matters for we were living in, what we now know to be, the last days of the British musical Raj. Kurt Cobain may have already been polishing his broom ready to sweep us off the map but, for the time being, Britain was the epicentre of the musical universe and the North was its beating heart. Hordes of flared trousered, bowlcut bearing lads owned the streets and filled the air with talk of getting mashed at the Ku Club.

For an indecently brief period in time the promise of a night out with Guy Called Gerald and Mad Cyril meant something much more than evening with the local pigeon fanciers society. Sure, it was fun while it lasted but, for some of us at least, it was mere flirtation and, away from the pills, thrills and bellyaches, we sat in our lonely rooms and listened to Peel eulogising the embittered janglepop of the Wedding Present.

He may be no longer with us in body, but his spirit is alive again tonight as a touching barrage of home-taped Peel pronouncements serve to introduce tonight’s main event: a non-stop 20th anniversary canter through the masterpiece that is Bizarro. It’s enough to make a grown man cry but the heaving sweatbox that is Cardiff’s Globe is no place for simpering sentimentality. Not tonight. You may not have been tears but there were certainly a few wincing at the 2010 bar prices and the reality of having to stand unaided for two hours. It would perhaps be pushing the boundaries of reality to describe a gig populated by songs of rancour, spite and failed relationships as a celebratory affair, but there’s a certain charm in watching couples in their forties howl lines like “I’ve just decided I don’t trust you anymore” brutally into one another’s faces.

Oh, there are inevitably minor gripes to be had, particularly when the drums were three times louder than the all important guitars. Some will even tell you that the Bizarro anniversary tour is a sideshow which falls flat in the wake of the Lord Mayor’s Parade that was the George Best shows. These people are wrong. They’ll also try and kid you that the show is all about 'Brassneck' and 'Kennedy', but as we’ve established, they are fools. The real majesty of this perfectly formed album is, as any self respecting indie kid knows, to be found in what we quaintly used to refer to as side two; the pitiful pathos of 'Bewitched' reacting explosively with the desperate, flailing energy of 'Take Me'. However, if I’m being honest then closing track 'Be Honest', while a perfect comedown on record, comes as somewhat of an anticlimax and one is left pondering whether bands will ever begin to sequence albums on the basis of future anniversary tours. As these idle thoughts subside the band depart and we are left with an empty stage and the onset of arthritic agony in the knees. This is the Wedding Present so there will be, need I say it, no encores.

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