I’m struggling to remember the last time I saw The Wedding Present before last Thursday’s concert at Gloucester’s splendid Guildhall. It may have been at the Bristol Bierkeller back in the heady and cheerful days of the late 1980s or it may have been further north. As mentioned elsewhere on these pages, I greatly admired the band’s George Best long player although sager experts than your humble correspondent inform me that both Bizarro and Seamonsters are the ones to own and savour. These albums passed me by and I only have myself to blame. Any road up, it was fine to revisit the band last week and I am happy to report that Dave Gedge and his cohorts were on tremendous form. The combo proffered a shortish set (no bad thing) and although I only recognised three of the numbers (Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft, Brassneck and a satisfying A Million Miles), I appreciated the wholehearted, tuneful and earnest songs that constituted the rest of the set. There is, as S postulated on the evening, a trademark Wedding Present guitar sound, a quick-fire chiming maelstrom of glee and it sounded pleasing and reassuringly fresh. The banter was merry; Gedge is pithy and laconic, bordering on the arch and he held court with an effervescent and appreciative Gloucester multitude contentedly. I was crying out for a My Favourite Dress but you can’t have everything.
The Coles attended a screening of the Swedish vampire flick, Let The Right One In, on the Friday evening (my fourth visit to the Guildhall in little over a week). I always have a mug of strong sugary tea and a Mars Bar when I watch films at the Eastgate Street Arts Centre and I was happy to continue this pleasing habit yesterday night. The film was rather stark, tense and somewhat violent in places but I appreciated its dark humour and delicately painted characters. A sensitive and bullied Stockholm lad, Oskar, discovers a young vampire girl living in the next door flat. The film portrays a touching friendship as the boy learns to face up to his tormentors while growing closer and closer to the mysterious and serious Eli. Rather sad, maudlin and realistic glimpses into Oskar’s rather lonely existence are cleverly interspersed with flashes of supernatural terror and nasty gore. It works pretty well. This punter was diverted and intrigued.