Friday was the final week of the 2010 Seaport Music Festival but it went out with a bang with Leeds legends The Wedding Present who, like they did at Bowery Ballroom earlier this year, were there to perform their classic 1989 album, Bizarro, in it's entirety. The intense heat of some of the July shows gave way to cool, mid-August weather making it the most perfect setting of the season.
David Gedge and company hit the stage around 8:15 and launched into "Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft" from their first album, George Best, which was the start of a short set of classics and a couple of promising new songs before the Main Event. Despite being, by design, a nostalgia tour, it was apparent that Gedge has still got it, and Bizarro side-one barn-burners like opening salvo "Brassneck" and "Kennedy" had all the manic fire they did when Margaret Thatcher was in office.
The less intense songs -- "No," "What Have I Said Now?" -- seemed a little restrained to me, but the band was probably saving their energy. for the album's second side which contains three of the most intense songs in their catalog. "Granadaland" "Bewitched," and the nine-minute epic "Take Me!" kicked some serious ass. On the latter in particular, Gedge's arm just becomes a blur with the band's signature furious jangle. I was surprised he only broke one string.
In between songs, Gedge joked with the audience, including a few who didn't seem to understand the concept of the show including one person's repeated screams for "Interstate 5" (from 2005's Take Fountain). "Have you heard Bizarro?" Gedge asked the person. "Then you know 'Interstate 5' is not on the album." His polite exasperation continued with a woman who kept asking to hug him. "I'll be at the merch table after the show -- we'll see then."
Openers were Savoir Adore who also have jangly guitars, just not the furious kind. They were terrific too, playing about half of last year's super-catchy In the Wooded Forrest album -- highlights for me the dance-friendly closing two-fer of "MERP" and "Bodies."
More photos below, plus a video montage of four songs from The Wedding Present's set...
The Wedding Present
The Wedding Present @ South Street Seaport 8.13.2010