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There was Elvis and then...the Wedding Present

Chart-topping Leeds band rolls well-oiled machine into the Casbah

The Wedding Present is now a standard rock quartet of two guitars, drums, and bass.
  • The Wedding Present is now a standard rock quartet of two guitars, drums, and bass.

The Wedding Present is all about David Gedge: he’s been the one constant member of that band. It’s been 35 years since he and a friend plugged in their amplifiers and began making records that got the attention of labels and broadcasters.

Wedding Present today is a loud, well-oiled machine. From beat one, you know that you’re in the hands of pros, even if they’re not totally right in the head. “Santa Claus is on his way,” Gedge sings in a song that appears chummy but that skewers the darker side of the celebrity lifestyle. “I hope we’ve all been good/ Because it’s almost Christmas day/ In holly jolly Hollywood.”

Past Event

The Wedding Present and Colleen Green

  • Sunday, April 30, 2017, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $20

Gedge has got to be one of those uber-driven band leaders who is always in a studio somewhere judging by his output (9 Wedding Party studio albums, 34 singles, 5 live albums, 13 compilations, and 2 EPs) and via his participation in various side projects such as the band Cinerama. A bit of a revolving-door employer, Gedge has cycled through some 20 bandmembers over the years. The current touring Wedding Present is a standard rock quartet of two guitars, drums, and bass.

Founded in Leeds, England (where Gedge is from), the early Wedding Present sounded a lot like an understudy for the Smiths, or even the Buzzcocks. Time mellowed Gedge’s songcrafting and the band’s performance into far-reaching indie pop that embraced melodic maturity, but at the expense of the grind. And that got them pegged as sell-outs by some of their hardcore fans.

But no matter. While they were still on top during the 1990s, the band matched Elvis Presley’s record of a dozen Top 30 singles in as many months. Better with age? You bet, although culture historians will likely remember the Wedding Present as the band that married punk to pop, for better or worse.

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