The Wedding Present live in HK
Grappa’s Cellar, Thu Apr 19
‘If the music’s too loud, then you’re too old’. That’s how the adage goes. And anyone of a respectable age may have heard this mocking tonguelash from achingly hip and cruel youngsters. Well, look who’s having the last laugh now. The embryos who utter those callous words clearly were not at The Wedding Present’s blood-pumping gig at Grappa’s Cellar. Not that we’re calling frontman David Gedge over the hill – in fact, he practically exudes comfortable youth – but the crowd that the indie rock outfit pulled in were definitely not Bieber beavers. These lot certainly didn’t need earplugs to block out the wave of power that emanated from TWP’s strong set (ps, if you’ve listened to the album, think three, five, 10 times bigger. Better. And louder).
“I wrote this song in 1988,” Gedge informed us in the lull between two skull-splittingly good singles. “Must have been when I was around four.” He then jumped straight into a song from the early days (circa George Best and Bizarro), rocking together with snakily tattooed bassist Pepe Le Moko. As the friendly moshpit beside the stage grew in frenzied excitement, TWP played an almost straight set of Seamonsters, mixed in with old classics as well as new songs from their new album Valentina.
It was their first visit since 1993 and, true to form, they played for a strong hour or so, never compromising in style or sound – a testament to the band’s unwavering success through their 20-something years. When they played Kennedy, a rip-roaring 80s punk rocker, all the merry men of Grappa’s sang along. “Too much apple pie?” they all chanted, a phrase that may seem throw-away to the uninitiated but, for those who’ve listened to all of Gedge’s legendary stuff, makes all the sense in the world. His lyrics have hit more nails on their heads than Bo Xilai’s made headlines. That night, in the packed cellar, it all made sense too: the synchronised headbanging, drummer Layton’s energetic thrashing, the oh-so- glorious-Britainness of it all. Let’s hope they don’t wait another 19 years to come back…