What a night. One of those memorable summer gigs at an intimate venue where you’re sweating like hell and being jolted around anyway, so might as well dance.
Did I mention how hot it was? David Gedge certainly did, and loanee guitarist Sam – in for Patrick – was staring at his tortured fingers, seemingly in shock, by the end. Playing guitar so passionately can’t be good for your health.
Yet bass player Katharine’s approach suggested it was all just par for the course. Imagine the girls in the Robert Palmer videos actually being able to play, and you’re not far off. Cool, seemingly effortless at times, yet shit-hot. Yep, back to that heat again.
As for Charlie on drums, well, there was no respite all night, but he was clearly up for the cause.
There was a fifth member too, Danielle quietly sneaking on and off to add keyboard and sublime harmonies, looking embarrassed as she returned from behind the curtain to take the applause at the end.
The Man Gedge might have employed more than 20 gigging members of his troupe over the years, but The Wedding Present have never been anything less than a proper band. And here was the proof.
Earlier on, we were treated to erm … The Treated, another band with Leeds roots, not far from home in this relatively small yet pretty much perfect venue.
The trio’s main strength was female bassist Stephanie’s counter-vocals to the main-man, while their infectious drummer couldn’t sit down for the excitement of it all.
I was going to say they reminded me of The Pixies, and that was before they gave us a fine rendition of Doolittle’s Tame.
They played us single Platinum and Pearl and plenty more, while raving about their first airplay that night, via the BBC Introducing service.
Meanwhile, the light show and noise levels suggested the walls were actually throbbing visually as well as sonically. Just the right side of heavy, I’d say.
The Weddoes struggled with the sound as well as the heat early on, the levels a little out on El Rey’s The Thing I Like Best About Him is His Girlfriend.
But a little tweaking does wonders, and we were properly away for Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm, the first time I’d heard that old Salowka-era favourite live for many moons.
Those searing six-strings shone on Two Bridges, complete with hand-claps, and then came Take Fountain’s Ringway to SeaTac and Valentina’s 524 Fidelio, the harmonies again spot-on.
There was a hint of what was to come later this year with the Watusi 20th anniversary tour on Gedge’s hymn to optimism Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, and a glimpse of what I was going to miss the next night at the same venue with Mini’s Convertible.
I’d been singing along to Click Click on the way over the Pennines, and a few hours later got the real live deal, one of many TWP moments that have provided a living soundtrack for this boy.
The Watusi theme continued with Swimming Pools and Movie Stars, before 1990’s hypnotic Crawl and crowd favourite Brassneck, a few further technical glitches seeing the song properly split in two.
Big Rat and Let Him Have It were further reminders if needed as to what a fine album Watusi was, and then came the Fall-esque genius move that was 1995’s Sucker, the penultimate 7” Weddoes vinyl I shelled out for, bringing back memories of days running for the train after the last song at Manchester’s Hop and Grape.
Talking of classic singles, we were motoring now, the sublime Blue Eyes from three years before, then – never sullied by age – My Favourite Dress taking nostalgia to the extreme.
The sweat was pouring as we moved on to Bizarro’s Granadaland and Bewitched, before being sent home on a further high with one from the mists of time, the pre-social-messaging era anthem You Should Always Keep in Touch with Your Friends.
* With thanks to Mal Campbell and Mike Middleton, always in the know at Hebden Bridge Trades Club.
* Look out for an interview with David Gedge, from Saturday’s Hebden Bridge visit, on this blog very soon.
* For the writewyattuk verdict on 2012’s Valentina and all things Weddoes, head here.