A “Bizarro” Sunday

April 12th, 2010

The Wedding Present – The Bowery Ballroom – April 11, 2010

The Wedding Present, the loud, jangly rock band that formed in the UK in the mid-’80s, took the stage last night at The Bowery Ballroom to perform their seminal 1989 album, Bizarro, in its entirety. Before launching into that material, the Wedding Present ran through a selection of more recent stuff, including some brand new songs, with the band’s good-humored frontman David Gedge almost apologetic in his assurance: “You will love them in three years.” Of course, the crowd was anything but uninterested, and songs like “Corduroy” and “I Lost the Monkey” were greeted with wild enthusiasm. That excitement later reached a fever pitch with the opening chords of “Brassneck,” Bizarro’s first track, while songs like “Kennedy,” “No” and “Take Me!” found many in the crowd manically pogo-ing and grinning at one another, seemingly under the spell of memories from the two decades since the album first came out.

At Bizarro’s halfway point, the band took a breather. As Gedge wiped the sweat from his face, he commented that Bizarro is “quite an intense LP.” Perhaps a bit of an understatement—it is a very intense LP, full of shifting dynamics and layers of lightening-fast guitar strumming. The Wedding Present did an admirable job of recreating the songs onstage, with Gedge’s pleading, heart-on-sleeve lyrics complemented by drummer Charlie Layton’s frenetic, powerful drumming. Though 20 years can feel like centuries in the ever-shifting world of popular music, the Wedding Present’s show was a testament to just how well Bizarro’s songs have endured, proving that this music sounds just as fresh and immediate as it was back in 1989. —Alena Kastin