The Wedding Present is an old, seasoned British band that you are not likely to have heard of unless you are a devotee of college radio or frequent the sorts of clubs that book indie-rock acts. With the exception of David Gedge, who lives in Los Angeles now, the Wedding Present’s lineup has changed many times over the past 20 years, as has the band’s name. First, they were the Lost Pandas. Gedge subsequently changed the band’s name to the Wedding Present until 1998, when the Present went on hiatus and Gedge formed Cinerama. In 2004 he simply renamed the Cinerama lineup (Chris McConville, Terry de Castro, and Graeme Ramsay) as the Wedding Present. The release of El Rey earlier this year constitutes their eighth studio album since 1987. Not prolific output, unless you consider that, in the early ’90s, the Wedding Present put out 12 singles in one year, many of which were released on vinyl during a time when mp3 downloads were becoming all the rage.
Releasing all of those consecutive singles was enough of a publicity feat to tie a record set years earlier in the U.K. by an American rocker named Elvis Presley. But stunt or not, each of those singles charted in the British Top 40 as well. The WP has charted some 18 times now, which speaks to the workmanship of their songs — most of which were written by Gedge.
I place Gedge squarely in the post-punk era, a period characterized by a load of musical baggage. One can hear so many of the influences in Gedge’s songwriting — there’s a wonderful Kinks thing going on in his almost spoken-word singing — that a Wedding Present record is like a visit from the ghosts of rock and roll past that Gedge exploits in his music. But in so doing, he casts the traditional in an attractive new light.
THE WEDDING PRESENT, Casbah, Thursday, September 18, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $15.