San Fran Bathhouse, Wellington
6 July 2017
It’s a cold Wellington winter midweek night and we shuffle into San Fran, hands in pockets and hunched over against the chill. Luckily we have the Wedding Present (although sadly not the Chills) to embrace us and wrap us up like a warm jersey.
There’s an easy manner to the band – something that comes from having been playing for 30 years now, the teenage angst long-gone, the realisation long ago having come that they would reach a certain level of acclaim, and no more – “we’re the semi-legendary Wedding Present”, Gedge tells us. This all brings a level of comfort, a sense that what we have here is a gathering of old friends, come to enjoy some music together. He tells us how nice it is to see us, that it’s a bigger crowd than they had last time here. Pause. Deadpan: “we’re on the up”.
We get a set that covers their whole career, opening with the wonderful ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’ and ‘What Have I Said Now?’ before exploring more recent albums. Crucially, this isn’t just a nostalgia fest – there are songs from 2016 here that are almost as well-received as the earliest ones.
We get a Jean-Paul Sartre Experience cover (not for the first time ever, in spite of Gedge’s claims), he momentarily thinks he’s in Auckland, before wheeling out a quiz question on Wellington (it turns out, we have NZ’s oldest zoo). A race through some classics (‘Dare’, ‘Dalliance’, ‘My Favourite Dress’, ‘Kennedy’) and they’re gone. A good night.