Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Benjy won't like it; he hates everything

Way back in high school a friend and I, likely skipping class, made the trek from the hinterlands of suburbia into the record shopping mecca and wonderland of skankiness that was then Yonge St. between Bloor and College. Working only part-time for wages that were criminal money was a significant issue at the time so when my friend pulled out an LP with a $17.99 price tag that was named after a soccer star I thought he’d gone off his nut. Thus began my introduction to The Wedding Present and their fantabulous, incredilicous album “George Best”.

Over the years I’ve added just about every release that they’ve put out and last Tuesday, partly in preparation for last night’s T.O. gig, I picked up their most recent album, Take Fountain. Over the first dozen or so listens I must say that I was disappointed. It’s not that the music isn’t up to standards it’s just that the lyrics, and their recurrent romance-gone-awry theme, seem merely plaintive and somewhat over-the-top compared to previous material which featured numerous deft turns of the phrase that somehow elevated the subject matter.

On my way to the show last night I worried that my expectations for their performance may also be too high. The last time I saw The Wedding Present play they put on a magical show, so good in fact that a musician friend of mine who came with me was instantly converted into a die-hard fan even though he came to the show unfamiliar with 95% of their catalogue. Ah, but the rub is that show they were touring with another great act that joined them on stage for most of the set (including portions w/ two drummers). Understandably, I was concerned that last night’s show may not live up to the standard set by it’s predecessor.

Ah, sometimes it’s so good to be wrong. My worries were entirely unfounded and the show was fan-freakin-tastic. The tunes they played from the new album just sounded HUGE. H-U-G-E. Seriously, I can’t name a better live act. If you get a chance catch this band.


If only the friend who introduced me to the band back in the day could’ve made it, he bailed due to an ailing little one.