The Wedding Present

Live 1990

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Recorded during their first gig in North America at Maxwell's, New Jersey and London's Kilburn National Ballroom, Live 1990 is the fourth release from cult indie pop merchants the Wedding Present based on the infamous "live tapes" that were previously only distributed through various fanzines and gigs in the late '80s. Featuring their second incarnation of ever-present frontman David Gedge, guitarist Peter Solowka, bassist Keith Gregory, and drummer Simon Smith, its 26 performances largely focus on 1989 sophomore album Bizarro and early versions of tracks that would later appear on 1991 follow-up Seamonsters, with only the primitive rock & roll of "I'm Not Always So Stupid" and the jangly bedsit indie of "Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft" making the cut from lo-fi 1987 debut George Best. Other than the atmospheric shoegaze of "Heather" and the melodic Smiths-ish "What Have I Said Now?," it's a relentlessly energetic and slightly manic experience, as Gedge's angst-ridden Ian Curtis-esque tones rattle their way around a constant array of thrashy riffs and frantic rhythms, as on the doom-laden grunge of "Corduroy," the aggressive post-punk of "Don't Talk, Just Kiss," and a venomous take on Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel's '70s classic "Come Up and See Me (Make Me Smile)." The latter's omission, the inclusion of "Dalliance," "Dare," and "Niagara," and a cleaner production are the only notable differences on the second London-recorded disc, bringing a sense of déjà vu that even hardcore fans may struggle to persevere with. But ignore the rather redundant overlaps and Live 1990 is an undeniably dynamic listen that captures the John Peel favorites at the top of their game.

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