The Wedding Present The Cabaret, Montreal QC - April 27, 2005

After nearly a decade, one of the UK's most respected proto-Britpop bands made their way back to Montreal. The somewhat thin turnout was a reminder that the Wedding Present never surpassed cult status in North America, but the crowd's reverence suggested that the cult, like the band, is still going strong. With founding singer-guitarist David Gedge backed by the latest line-up from his other band, Cinerama (with a replacement drummer), the quartet played tunes from the top of the Wedding Present's discography - their recently released comeback album, Take Fountain - to the bottom - their 1986 sophomore single, "Once More." Rocking long and hard through an admitted bout of tour fatigue, Gedge and company let their bulbous, jangle-y riffs ring out around his earthy, intimate, unmistakable voice. Classics like "Kennedy," accentuated by a spastic light show, caused the crowd to froth. Show etiquette was in full force, however, so everyone applauded hard for the new songs, which are high in quality but, for the hardcore element, lacking the nostalgia that fuels their fanaticism. The band broke up the onslaught of that big '90s sound with newer, relatively restrained pop tunes, including "Health and Efficiency," one of several Cinerama songs, and older goofy gems such as "Queen of Outerspace." Referencing the Wedding Present's record-breaking chart dominance in 1992, the band played selections from the Hit Parade compilations, but without the oddball covers one would have expected. Although the band was visually unspectacular and somewhat energy deficient on stage, the show was invigorated by the audience's spirit and the "greatest hits" quality of the set-list, coaxing a little afterglow out of everyone in attendance.