The Wedding Present

oxford O2 ACADEMY


Many centuries from now, when future cultural historians come to analyse the Wedding Present’s first three albums, they will surely come to these conclusions: debut LP George Best might have had the youthful energy and naivety; third album Seamonsters can rightly be regarded as a brooding, bone fide masterpiece; but Bizarro had the best tunes.

Their second studio release, which came out 30 years ago, sounded just as powerful as ever when David Gedge brought the latest incarnation of his indie heroes to Oxford for the anniversary tour.

But it was a neglected classic – the devastatingly evocative instrumental Dan Dare – that kicked things off, with the setlist including a number of gems, including Pallisades, It’s a Gas, and the Close Lobsters’ cover Let’s Make Some Plans.

But Bizarro was the star of the show, with Gedge repeatedly thrashing the living daylights out of his guitar with the energy of a man half his age – his right hand often just a blur as they cranked out classics Brassneck, Crushed, the haunting Bewitched, and the ultimate crowd-pleaser Kennedy.

But the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Take Me, with Gedge et al promising – and delivering – a full eight minutes of melodic ferocity to a packed O2.

When you’re this good, you can get away with refusing to play encores. And they just seem to get better with age.