Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present is a band that we used to listen to back when we were students. It's really mainly Mark who's into them and has most of their albums, although I think they're OK. The band is actually David Gedge and whatever lineup he has to have at the time. They didn't release an album in eight years, except under the name of Cinerama. Then, last year they released one. They went on tour in the UK to promote their album. They played in Birmingham in March 2005. Mark was very disappointed that we couldn't go and see them because we had too much else on at the time.

The Cat's CradleThe redemption came a year later, when we discovered that they had a US tour planned and that NC was on the itinerary. So, last night we went to our first US gig -- The Wedding Present at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. Last night was also the night of the UNC vs. Duke basketball game.

We told the babysitter that we'd be back by 1am or so. We'd worked out that if the support band comes on at 10pm, then The Wedding Present comes on at 11pm, we should be home by 1. The Wedding Present famously have a policy of not doing encores, so we thought that this would be fairly accurate. Little did we know.

We arrived at the gig at about 9:30pm. The venue was exactly like the sort of small venue one would find in the UK -- small and dark. I'd say that it had a capacity for 500 or so people at the most, although there were only about 250 people there. There was a small back room with a bar, a pool table an a whopping great plasma TV playing the Duke-UNC game. It was different to any gig I've ever been to in that it was a smoke free zone. It's a strange, yet pleasant experience to watch a band without a haze of smoke.

The support band, a local NC group called Sorry About Dresden, had the radio coverage on while they set up. At half time (about 9:50 or so), they started their set.

Some people, when they go to gigs, miss the support bands and arrive in time for the main act only. I think that this is a mistake. Half the fun is seeing the support. You can never know when you're likely to see something good, but before they're famous. For example, back when we were students, we went to see the Sultans of Ping FC at Oxford Brookes University's Student Union. They were being supported by a band called The Jennifers. The Sultans of Ping FC came to very little, but The Jennifers later morphed into Supergrass.

The band were OK, but they seemed to be poorly rehearsed. They also seemed more preoccupied with the basketball than with performing. The lead singer kept putting the radio on between songs to find out the score. Although I found this a bit tiresome, most of the audience were also preoccupied with the game, so it seemed to work well.

So far so good, until we realised with horror that the next band setting up was not David Gedge's latest lineup, but another support band -- a Brit-fronted ensemble called Sally Crewe and The Sudden Moves, who are touring with Gedge. Although we like the idea of getting our money's worth, it became evident that there was no way that we'd be home by one. This band were much better than the first. As they were unencumbered with concern for basketball, they were actually able to take some time to tune their instruments and play some music without messing about.

The Wedding Present came on at around midnight. They played a good set. They mostly played old songs, but with a few from their recent album and a couple of Cinerama songs (although not my personal favourite one). They didn't play Kennedy (for anyone who's familiar with the band). They finished at about 1:20 and we were back at the car by 1:25, keen to get back and relieve the babysitter.

Unfortunately our route home had been blocked off by a police courdon, so we had to find a longer route around; then our petrol light came on and we couldn't find a petrol station that was open; then we realised that we'd forgotten to get some money out of the bank to pay the babysitter. All in, we got home at about 2:40. Mark then took the babysitter home, hoping that he could find an open petrol station en route (which he managed to do). As I rolled into bed some time after 3am and Mark didn't get in until 4:15, we decided to make Sunday the "day of rest" and gave church a miss.

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