There was a time in the ’80s when British indie bands had a predictable pattern: First become press darlings in the U.K., slowly conquer the hearts of suburban American teenagers, and then hit the big time with a song on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. Sometime after the Smiths broke up, the pattern stopped working and British and American music became isolated from each other in the ’90s.
One of the great British bands that never really made the leap Stateside during that time was the Wedding Present. Led by David Gedge — the only constant member through the band’s rocky 25-year history — the Wedding Present was beloved in the U.K. The Weddoes, as they were known in the press, had the jangly guitars and romantic lyrics of mid-’80s British indie, but rather than a skinny, androgynous guy standing center stage, they had Gedge, who looked and sounded like an affable, ordinary guy and would do affable, ordinary things such as name an album after soccer star George Best.
Gedge would also do strange things like record an album of Ukrainian folk songs or a cover of the theme song from Twin Peaks. More importantly, he’d write simple-but-heartbreaking songs such as “My Favorite Dress,” about a lover’s infidelity: “A stranger’s hand on my favorite dress/ That was my favorite dress, you know/ That was my favorite dress.”
Gedge switched gears in 1997, forming the mellower Cinerama, and in 2004 he rebranded Cinerama as the new lineup of the Wedding Present. Today, Gedge melds the more professional sound of Cinerama with the exuberance of ’90s-era Wedding Present. And his lyrics are just as romantic as ever.
WEDDING PRESENT: Casbah, Thursday, April 1, 8:30 p.m. $15. 619-232-4355.