34 years after their formation, The Wedding Present – under the continued tutelage of their inimitable frontman David Gedge – are still one of the kings of musical juxtaposition.
A deeply emotional band ruminating on themes of love and desperation, Gedge’s pulsating live act compliment the alluring simplicity of their age-old topics with vibrant, manic guitar and melodic gnash.
Gedge, the sole remaining original member of the band, is going through something of a nostalgic period at the moment.
“There are new ideas within this group,” he says, “but these anniversary tours are quite interesting. When they were first suggested to me, I wasn’t at all keen on the idea, but I spoke to people about it and almost universally, to a person, they said ‘do it’.”
“I’ve come to really enjoy them. Oddly, I’ve found it easier this time around. We used to fall off stage and almost collapse backstage after shows. Maybe I’ve developed the muscles to play guitar this way.”
Back living in the UK after various periods in the US, Gedge and the band have ended up playing a series of 30th anniversary shows, touring in spots such as Asia and lesser-known corners of Europe along the way.
“Back then I wrote a little like I was writing in a diary, so when I go back to this, it’s almost like reading back,” he says of the latest tour, which is in memory of 1989 album ‘Bizarro’.
“It has meant that we don’t write as much now,” he continues. “I just don’t have the time. Back then, we released ‘George Best’, ‘Bizarro’ and ‘Seamonsters’ in six years. Now I’d be lucky to get one album out in that time.
“It’s been very interesting, though. We have a different kind of crowd now. People are coming back after years. They’ve had kids and moved away from music, and then all of a sudden the kids have left the home and they’re back at our gigs. Some of the kids are with them. There are more people, a changing profile.”
The Wedding Present were never a band afraid to make a statement. Famously, when performing Bizarro single ‘Brassneck’ on Top Of The Pops. Gedge and co lightly mocked the show by standing stock still and refusing to mime along.
“It was a reference to the video for the song,” Gedge laughs.
“In it, we stand still while people dance madly around us. I loved Top Of The Pops. I think I was expecting someone to step in and have a word about it, we were getting more and more ridiculous with every rehearsal. But no one ever did.”
Audience reaction, it happens, is the main thing that keeps bringing Gedge back to Ireland, a place The Wedding Present particularly love to play. “People love to get involved and dance here,” he says.
“If you go to somewhere like Germany, they’re still fans, but they kind of stand back and study the music. In Ireland, they get that music is about connection. You know if you play in Ireland and the gig gets a bad reaction, something’s wrong.
“Music isn’t a film,” he explains. “It’s not a book. It’s about connection, about back and forth.
“Next year, we’re going to take it a bit easier, and we might get to some recording. Before that, I’ve got the shows, there are two books, the new movie and there is a single on the horizon. It’s been busy!”
The Wedding Present play The Academy on May 25. Earlier in the day, the new indie movie about their career, ‘Something Left Behind’ will show at the IFI in Temple Bar, with Gedge and director Andrew Jezard taking questions.