Four days after Lloyd Cole, we had a trip across to St Luke’s in the east end of the city to see The Wedding Present.
It was actually touch-and-go whether we would go out that night. Both myself and Rachel have lingering effects of the recent bouts of COVID that came visiting recently – I’m not saying we have long-COVID or the likes, but the post-viral thing is proving to be a bit of a nuisance and we both find ourselves easily tired, especially as the day goes on. Lloyd Cole had been fine as it was a sit-down gig, but the Weddoes felt like an altogether different proposition.
Having established that this was a ‘doors at 7pm, support band at 7.30 and main band at 8.30/8.45’ type of event, we took the decision to skip the support act and to refrain from any booze all evening, on the basis that it was the best way to make sure we got through the evening.
St Luke’s is one of my favourite places in Glasgow. It’s a converted church, just a few hundred yards from Barrowlands, which had been empty and derelict for decades. A stunning restoration saw it re-open as a venue, with a fabulous bar and restaurant alongside, in 2015. The venue alone was very much behind making the effort to get along…oh and the fact too that the gig was part of the delayed 30th Anniversary tour of Seamonsters, with the promise that all the songs from the album would receive an airing.
Bang on 8.30pm, four musicians took to the stage, with a Philip Schofield look-a-like in centre stage…..no matter that it’s been at least a year since he decided to let the natural ageing process take care of his hair, I still can’t get used to seeing David Gedge as a silver-top. Not a word was said as the first notes of Dalliance were struck up….and as soon as its final note was played, and before the audience got a chance to cheer, it was straight into Dare. Without any let up, it was Suck, followed by Blonde, at which point it became clear that we were being treated to Seamonsters in its exact running order. As it turned out, David didn’t utter a single word until Octopussy had finished, at which point he said good evening and how delighted he was to be back in Glasgow, adding that, as we were all aware, the full album had been played and the second half of the show would contain loads of old songs with some new stuff mixed in. At that point in time, I really couldn’t have cared less about what was to follow as hearing Seamonsters, in its full sonic glory, had been a treat. This line-up wasn’t really shaping up as indie-Weddoes in terms of jangly guitars, so I was intrigued as to what would be aired.
We would find out as the show progressed that bassist Melanie Howard was suffering from a touch of laryngitis and that she couldn’t do her usual vocal parts, meaning that David had to carry things on his own. There’s no doubt this led to a late change of plans in terms of the set list, with just one of the really new songs being aired, the as yet unreleased, X Marks The Spot, which is scheduled to be the next single in the 24 Songs project of 2022 in which a newly pressed 45 is released each calendar month. Otherwise, it was classic after classic after classic after classic. I can’t give you the full rundown of the songs aired or the order they were played, but I do know Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft, A Million Miles, and My Favourite Dress all took us all back to the early days, while there were also airings for a couple of my favourites from more recent albums:-
The former has been a staple of the live shows since its release on the Valentina album in 2012, but the latter is something that I can only ever recall hearing once before, and that was many years ago. My wee heart skipped a beat when David announced it….
California and Blue Eyes represented the 1992 singles efforts, and both sounded better now than they did 30 years on, testament to the tightness and skills of the band, and indeed from whatever pact David Gedge has made with a supernatural being to ensure his voice improves with age….or maybe he’s just got better at picking the songs which still suit his range.
Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the ridiculously good way the show ended – Kennedy, Crawl, and Bewitched, with the final song just about taking the roof off the place at that point when it goes from where you think it is just about to fade out to all-out sonic attack.
Sadly, not from the St Luke’s show, but a version recorded at the Reading Festival in 1996 for a show broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and later included as part of the stupendous 6xCD The Complete Peel Sessions 1986-2004.
The gig concluded bang on 90 minutes, as ever without an encore, but enabling us to catch whatever mode of public transport would get us home, and indeed plenty of time for a visit to the merchandise stall for some vinyl and something a bit more unusual:-
The fact that we now have matching travel mugs, surely, is all the evidence you need to prove that myself and Rachel have left our working-class roots well and truly behind us.