Born on the seminal C-86 cassette, The Wedding Present seemed pressed into the fabric of twee pop with their contribution This Boy Can Wait (A Bit Longer). C-86 proved to be many indie blips on the radar produced by two authorities on the subject: New Musical Express and Rough Trade records. Several of the comp's groups fizzled out between 1988 and 1993 after making EPs now are considered holy grails of iTunes libraries and corners of the blogosphere. Others saw indie not as a genre but a stepping point and an idea to evolve; Primal Scream dove into acid house and Half Man, Half Biscuit became a satirical rock parodying everything between Brit Lit 101 and Thatcherism.

Others aside, The Wedding Present began popping up all over the map and with them they brought an edge of brute force to this established indie-pop. Singer David Gedge's distinct, nasally authoritative voice matched lightning quick guitar riffs and straight, harrowing drumming. '87's George Best (below, left) was truly indie, recorded and put out by the band's own label, and Bizzaro from '88 was a more mature version supported by RCA. Albini got a crack at them on the harsh Seamonsters (center) and the 1994 Island Records album Watusi (right) could be their most critically acclaimed. In short, they proved to be as adaptive as they were good at writing songs.

Live 1988 sits smack dab in the middle of a band which is a blueprint for what indie has become: an over-arching, experimental idea in which kids apply their influences with a DIY mindset. Half recorded in Rotterdam, half in Valencia, the album is a look at the band during the George Best era, but with a sheer exuberance and edge which would bud on Bizarro. Their C-86 song This Boy Can Wait, along with What Did Your Last Servant Die Off? both seem to be stretched to their breaking points. Other tracks like the shiny pop of No, the methodical, driving A Million Miles, and the dreamy Not from Where I'm Standing all strengthen the point of the Wedding Present sound, versus the sound they had on low recording budgets during the first half of their career. The Wedding Present thrives in a big, live sound, with all pieces on level 10, and Gedge's voice on 11.

Despite the above history lesson, I have even managed to exclude The Wedding Present's early single's collection, their John Peel sessions (of Ukrainian folk songs) affectionately titled Українські Виступи в Івана Піла, and their 2 Hit Parade albums which were collections of 12 singles released month to month during 1992-93. And also three other albums which charted in the UK during 1995, 1996, and 2005. In the ashes of more visible indie throbs like the Smiths, The Wedding Present proved longevity couldn't...and doesn't hurt all that bad.

Check them out at the Middle East Downstairs on Monday 4/12 with Girl In A Coma, and the Motion Sick!


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