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Live / stage review

Escape velocity: The Wedding Present at Leadmill

The power pop veterans play classic album Seamonsters in full, alongside other anthems of love and loss.

23 September 2022 at

David Gedge, frontman of indie mainstays The Wedding Present, writes exclusively about the only things worth writing about: infidelity, heartbreak and betrayal.

1991’s monolithic Seamonsters saw a pivot away from the wry observation of previous records (“It's just this razor, he's left it on your shelf / I'll throw it out myself”) towards bleaker territory (“Stay all night I dare you! / Yes, alright I scare you”). But despite the despair it’s no less brilliant, and it gets a full run-through tonight as part of the record’s 30th anniversary tour.

Produced by Steve Albini, Seamonsters has a much rougher sound than the bright jangle of its predecessors. This finds full expression live despite Gedge being the band’s only constant member since its release. It’s a gruelling listen all in one go, without any lyrical respite from our hero’s romantic torment, and the four-piece imbue it with a heaviness that puts most metal bands to shame. ‘Lovenest’ sounds especially strong, with vocals sung through gritted teeth, as does ‘Blonde’ with its lurching guitars.

Amazingly, Gedge reveals that this is his 21st Leadmill appearance since 1986 – and perhaps his last, if a bunch of vultures from London have their way – but you wouldn’t know it from the gusto with which his troupe launch into ‘Brassneck’ – one of the most perfect pop songs ever written.

During the second half, the band cover a Low track (‘Canada’) and play classics from Bizarro (the ferocious velocity of ‘Kennedy’) and standalone 1988 single 'Nobody's Twisting Your Arm'. A few newer tracks are also given an airing, including Take Fountain’s ‘Mars Sparkles Down on Me’ (“How can I just shake his hand when it’s been all over your skin?”) and unambiguously-titled new single ‘I Am Not Going to Fall in Love With You’. Eschewing an encore, the band finish with ‘My Favourite Dress’, telling us – as if we need reminding – that “jealousy is an essential part of love.”

by Sam Gregory (he/him)

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