Sunday, August 28, 2011

At The Edge Of The Sea

Praise God for my dear friend Marco. If he hadn't introduced me to the music of David Gedge and his band The Wedding Present i would have continued in blissful ignorance of, what has become, one of my favourite bands. How i missed them originally I'll never know, but i didn't miss the boat completely. I was just held up along the way.

Yesterday, the Concorde 2 club on Brighton's seafront hosted Gedge's very own one day indoor music festival. A festival for the slightly older and possibly no wiser generation of 'real' music lover whilst the kids are away lapping up the Reading atmosphere.

As is the norm of late, a good percentage of the day was missed by yours truly due to work. The doors opened at three, myself and Heidi got there for half six.
This meant that the likes of Dirty Fingernails, Summer Camp, Silvermash and Gedge's act Cinerama played to a slightly smaller crowd. This is however an annual event and next year with a little more planning........................................i expect the same thing will happen again.

Heidi, bless her, found great amusement in the whole event. She was without doubt the youngest person in the room and only there for my sake as a little (but perfect) company. She was very quick to point out the age of the regular punter there, and how i fitted in so well. In fairness she was right. It was a room of forty something dads. Not strictly true, forty something mums as well. The choice of polo shirt and white retro trainers was a well thought out choice as dozens of others had had a similar idea. I was reminded of my days a a 'hardened' biker, 'if we're all individuals, how come we all dress the same'.
It turns out i fit the bill of a forty something that still believes he has a little class and style a treat. Not really too old to rock the night away, but yes i can't forget the early start in the morning. And boy am i looking forward to a cup of tea when i get home.

The first band we got the pleasure, and pleasure it was, to see was a Japanese all girl punk outfit called Pinky Piglets These girls were full of energy and i think everybody in the venue developed a special kind of love for them. The girls seemed to like the 'I Want Chocolate' song whist the cover of Kennedy really was quite something. I think that memory will stay with me forever, one of those beautiful, well maybe not beautiful as such, moments. Rare moments perhaps. Rare but bloomin' special.
In broken English they managed to ask the crowd to make some noise and to plug their two Cd's, both available for sale. It was up to you which you bought, there were they said two options, the red one or the blue one. it was funny and i did really have the greatest of belly laughs, but it was with them not at them. Unlike the miserable git behind me as his better half pointed out to him.
Heidi enjoyed it and summed the singer up perfectly when she said 'it's like listening to a mouse on helium'. She was right on this one.

Another trip to the bar plus a trip to the loo quickly in the interval. It's all a little busy and twice i found myself stood in a queue with a group of men who all had less hair than my father in law. At least no-one said they better just ring the babysitter to check everythings OK back home.

Badly Drawn Boy, a good friend of David Gedge comes on next. I'll be honest, i didn't really know what to expect. Thinking long and hard on the way down there, 'Something To Talk About' from the film About A Boy is probably the only song of his i can recall. He's the same age as me, i probably should know more. I will from now on, i was really really pleasantly surprised.
You don't need me to tell you how well constructed his songs are, I'm guessing you know them more than me, but he made me laugh, his rambling between songs and his observations were hilarious, and the tunes great. If you get the chance, go and see him. I'm so glad for the chance meeting that resulted in his name being added to the bill.
He's still a scruffy bugger though.

And so to the main event. I have been buzzing about seeing The Wedding Present for so so long. As I've said before, i feel like I've missed out on so much, and this was an opportunity to put this right.
I honestly do believe this could be the finest music available to mankind and I'm going to actually hear it first hand, live, and very very loud. Just as it should be.
Being a new convert, I've only heard four albums prior to the gig. George Best, Bizarro, Sea Monsters and Tommy. Of course this meant there was plenty of the set i didn't know including some very new material. I enjoyed every number as if I'd heard it a hundred times before, that's how good The Wedding Present are.
'My Favourite Dress' and 'Flying Saucer' however i know word for word, and for times last night i think i really had discovered a kind of paradise.
'Make Me Smile' and 'Rotterdam' from Sea Monsters were stunning highlights for me also. This is was live music is all about, and why don't i do this anywhere near enough?

Heidi didn't get quite the same level of enjoyment out of all this as me. Her highlight of the evening was finally getting a chair before the headliners took to the stage. Through the Weddoes set she managed to read a chunk of Exodus and conquer a couple of stages of Angry Birds on her new smart phone. I feel if it was that smart it would have told her to hang on to every note emitted from Gedge's guitar instead.
As i contemplated going up the front to jump around with the others, she told me of the advantages of listening to music whilst sitting at tables with a bottle of wine. I don't always feel like the older more mature one in this relationship!
As it turned out, the 'mosh pit' up front was full of balding dads. I'm not yet a parent and therefore not quite eligible for admission to this elite group of grown up festival goer.
Besides, according to my beautiful young wife, my awful attempts at dancing have been surpassed by other members of the audience. I'm bad, but not that bad. Full marks for the geezer in the straw boater at the back of the hall, if it helps fella, i thought those moves were great.

Same time next year then Mr Gedge? I'm looking forward to it already. And there may well be a Sea Monsters tour next year as well. I may well have missed out for far too long on all this, but i can catch up.

If you too have been deprived of The Wedding Present, check the short films section of this blog. There you will find a link to You Tube and the amazing tune 'Take Me'. It really is nine minutes of  absolute bliss.

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