‘Seamonsters’ off of Brighton beach

Posted On 14 Aug 2022 at 10:20 pm

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

THE WEDDING PRESENT + THE PRIMITIVES – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 13.8.22

By my reckoning, the very first Brighton concert by indie rock group The Wedding Present took place at The Escape Club (now Patterns) on 10th December 1985. Tonight’s performance 37 years later at the Concorde 2 will be at least their 45th concert in our City. Yep, you’ve got it, The Wedding Present are rather prolific with their concerts as well as their released material, and that’s despite a temporary hiatus between 1997 and 2004.

In Brighton, they have graced the stages of the aforementioned Escape Club and Concorde 2, as well as the Pavilion Theatre, Top Rank Suite, The Zap Club, The Event, the Brighton Centre, The Corn Exchange, and the like, with even David Gedge and Terry DeCastro turning up at Dave’s Comics in Sydney Street to perform ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’, ‘Brassneck’ and ‘My Favourite Dress’ on 9th July 2016.

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

In 2009 their annual residency at the Concorde 2 began with the launch of At The Edge Of The Sea, which is named after the two minute thirty-nine second track found on their early compilation album, titled ‘Tommy’. The original release of the tune being on their 1986 ‘Once More’ single.

‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ is an all-day indoor mini-festival curated by Wedding Present frontman David Gedge and his team. I guessed they missed the trick of retitling it ‘Gedge Of The Sea’, but I can recall being disappointed that due to Covid lockdown’s and safety worries that the 2020 and 2021 events did not take place, but in 2022 it was back with a bang!

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ has expanded into a two-day event with fans travelling from all over the UK to Brighton in order to enjoy the delights of sunny Brighton and two differing live sets from The Wedding Present as well as choice other acts. This year is ‘ATEOTS XII’ and across the two days the lineup featured The Wedding Present (performing their 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album, plus other songs in a 70 minute set), The Primitives (50 minute set), David’s other group Cinerama (40 minute set), Such Small Hands (featuring Wedding Present bassist Melanie Howard), Terry de Castro (former Wedding Present bassist), Aegli (from Cyprus), Syndromet (from Sweden), West Wickhams, Liines, Daniel Searle performing ‘2048’ (spoken word) and, to open, Bee & Jackrabbit.

With work commitment’s negating our full attendance at this event, we did thankfully attend on Day Two in order to watch the full sets by The Wedding Present and beforehand from The Primitives.

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

This is not the first time The Wedding Present and The Primitives have worked together as some may recall their 1991 joint Christmas 7” single, which came out on First Warning Records on 2nd December of that year and featured The Wedding Present covering Elton John’s ‘Stepping Into Christmas’ and The Primitives rendition of the traditional ‘Silent NIght’. For completists the third tune on the release was Hoodoo Gurus ‘Little Drummer Boy (Up The Khyber)’ – enough said!

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

Another coincidence is that the Brighton & Hove News Music Team had a holiday last week in order to cover the Rebellion & R-Fest performances in Blackpool from 4th to 7th August. On the bill on Saturday 6th at the R-Fest on Blackpool Promenade were The Wedding Present (from 3:45pm to 4:40pm) and immediately on stage before them were The Primitives (from 2:30pm to 3:25pm). Here are a few photos of the bands during those performances. You can also find a few bonus shots at the foot of this review.

The Wedding Present live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pics Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The Primitives live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pics Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The Primitives commenced their proposed 17 track set bang on 7pm and whizzed through almost all of them in just 45 minutes. The first thing that strikes not only myself, but others in the sold out crowd, is that time has been extremely kind on vocalist Tracy, who is just a few days shy of her 55th birthday. One daring male punter exclaimed to Tracy and all present “You still look gorgeous!”. In today’s PC world, this could have gone one of two ways, but thankfully for the chap, Tracy’s reply was “Oh thank you!”. Of course, if it went the other way, then I guess he might have blamed tonight’s bright full moon!

I can recall that back in the day, some folks were residing in The Primitives camp and others in the Transvision Vamp one, as their trajectories rose and declined at the same time (1986-1991). But ‘Baby I Don’t Care’, I was entrenched in the Tracy Louise Cattell aka Tracy Tracy camp.

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

I recall picking up on The Primitives via the Radio 1 late night John Peel shows, where he continually championed new, unheard of, up-and-coming bands. I, like many others of my generation, would religiously record the shows on tape and keep the decent live session tracks. The Primitives first John Peel Session was on 13.04.1986. Peel’s chums heard about them, as Janice Long hosted a session on 17.06.1986, which was followed by an Andy Kershaw Session on 17.07.1986 and finally being concluded with a second John Peel Session on 15.10.1986.

The Primitives first release ‘Thru The Flowers’ was swiftly followed by ‘Really Stupid’ both in 1986. 1987 saw ‘Stop Killing Me’, ‘Ocean Blue’ and a re-recording of ‘Thru The Flowers’. However their prime period was in 1988 when ‘Crash’ climbed as high as No.5 in the UK Singles Chart. The 1988 follow up’s ‘Out Of Reach’ and ‘Way Behind Me’ also went Top 40 as did their first 1989 release ‘Sick Of It’. Their debut album ‘Lovely’ dropped in March 1988 and hit No.6 in the UK Albums Chart. The follow-up ‘Pure’ from 1989 hit No.33.

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

I was honoured to watch The Primitives perform live at Brighton Polytechnic on 7th March 1987. I can remember being transfixed by Tracy throughout the whole of their 15 song set. For those that are wondering, the tunes were:

‘We’ve Found A Way To The Sun’, ‘Thru The Flowers’, ‘Across My Shoulder’, ‘Stop Killing Me’, ‘Run Baby Run’, ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’, ‘I’ll Stick With You’, ‘Spacehead’, ‘Where The Wind Blows’, ‘Dreamwalk Baby’, ‘Nothing Left’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, ‘Everything’s Shining Bright’, ‘She Don’t Need You’, ‘Really Stupid’

If that’s whetted your appetite, then I suspect that you will most definitely want to click onto this YouTube video in order to listen to that actual concert!

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

Back to tonight’s performance and the quartet were operating the usual lead vocals (and ‘eventually’ tambourine), Fender guitar, Gibson bass, and drums format. They opened with two corkers from their debut ‘Lovely’ album, namely ‘Thru The Flowers’ and ‘Stop Killing Me’ (which incidentally is my all-time Primitives fave tune). This was a terrific start to their performance, but I was mulling over whether when I saw them live back in 1987, whether they sounded more powerful and gritty. I think that they did! The ‘Lazy Records’ material was more skuzzy than their polished RCA stuff. I was a fan of the former as opposed to the latter.

Something else that occurred to me during tonight’s performance was whether CHVRCHES frontwoman Lauren Mayberry was inspired by Tracy or not, as they both have or have had similar attributes including being twee and coyish – These terms are used endearingly by the way.

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

The performance is flying by as we are given the rockabilly beat of ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’, the old skool swinging proto punk vibe of ‘Sick Of It’, the dual vocals with the guitarist for ‘Lose The Reason’ and the decent ‘Petals’ from the 2014 ‘Spin-O-Rama’ album, as was its predecessor. ‘Really Stupid’ was delivered next, and that’s a corker too!

The 60s style swinging pop track ‘Way Behind Me’ had a jolly good outing, as did ‘Nothing Left’. It was then that it dawned on me that in fact if The Primitives had a male singer like their original one, Keiron McDermott (ex-Nocturnal Babies), when they formed, then The Primitives’ material would very much sound like The Undertones, who I had very recently seen at R-Fest in Blackpool.

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

We were even given a brand new tune titled ‘Don’t Know Where To Start’, which slotted perfectly in with the older numbers, as did 2017’s ‘I’ll Trust The Wind’. ‘Rattle My Cage’ (from 2011 ‘Never Kill A Secret’ EP) is listed on the setlist, but I don’t actually recall them playing it, as the guitarist launched into the intro of the ‘Crash’ hit single – cue a bemused look from Tracy as she peered down at her setlist on the floor. Yes, ‘Crash’ was terrific. Yes a moshpit did start!

The penultimate tune was ‘Spacehead’ with its catchy “When he walks on by; He looks at the sky; What is that boy on?; He’s a strange person”. They concluded with ‘Everything Shining Bright’ and indeed it was, they had delivered a most enjoyable set. Let’s hope they return pretty soon!

The Primitives live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

The Primitives are:
Tracy Tracy – vocals, tambourine
Paul Court – guitars, vocals
Tig Williams – drums
Paul Sampson – bass

The Primitives setlist:
‘Thru The Flowers’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Stop Killing Me’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Spin-O-Rama’ (from 2014 ‘Spin-O-Rama’ album)
‘I’ll Stick With You’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Sick Of It’ (from 1989 ‘Pure’ album)
‘Lose The Reason’ (from 2014 ‘Spin-O-Rama’ album)
‘Petals’ (from 2014 ‘Spin-O-Rama’ album)
‘Really Stupid’ (from 1986 ‘Really Stupid’ single)
‘Way Behind Me’ (from 1989 ‘Pure’ album)
‘Nothing Left’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Don’t Know Where To Start’ (unreleased)
‘I’ll Trust The Wind’ (from 2017 ‘New Thrills’ EP)
‘Rattle My Cage’ (from 2011 ‘Never Kill A Secret’ EP)
‘Crash’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Spacehead’ (from 1988 ‘Lovely’ album)
‘Everything Shining Bright’ (from 1987 ‘Thru The Flowers’ single)

Grab your merch HERE.

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

John Peel fans would also most certainly have been aware of The Wedding Present back in the day, as they recorded no less than 13 of them from between 1986 to 2004. The band had formed in 1985 in Leeds from the ashes of the Lost Pandas. The band’s music has evolved from fast-paced indie rock in the vein of their most obvious influences The Fall, Buzzcocks and Gang of Four to more varied forms. Throughout their career, they have been led by vocalist and guitarist David Gedge, the band’s only constant member.

People might be aware of the band as in 1992 they infamously had a historic run of a dozen 7” singles released at monthly intervals. Each single had a limited pressing of 10,000 copies which all reached the Top 30 in the UK Singles Chart, equalling Elvis Presley’s record for the most UK Top 30 hits in one year. In October 2021, the band announced that in 2022 they would release a 7″ single per month, featuring two new songs, for the duration of 2022, repeating their one single per month approach of 1992. These ‘24 Songs’ project records each come in a designed sleeve featuring brutalist photography by Jessica McMillan. There’ll be a collector’s box to put them all in, too This material can currently be purchased HERE.

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

Local Brighton & Hove residents may recall that The Wedding Present had their special ‘24 Songs’ launch events back in January at The Old Market, obviously the Brighton & Hove News Music Team were in attendance – Read our review HERE.

Back to this evening at the Concorde 2 and The Wedding Present this evening are performing the entire 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album in track order. The platter peaked at No.13 on its release and so it’s no wonder that this evening is a sell-out. I’m certain the band, the venue and promoters LOUT were most pleased.

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

At 8:52pm the quartet clad in black took to the ‘Le Bikini Stage’ as it was titled for this event, with its two painted cut-out seagulls flying above the pit. This occurred a few minutes after their annual raffle to win a unique bass drum skin with ‘George Best’ album design, two test pressings of ‘Seamonsters’ and a boiler suit, as well a box set of the ‘24 Songs’.

They had their usual Gedge vocals and alternating Fender and Gibson guitars, Melanie on bass, Jon on another Fender guitar and Nicholas on drums. There were four or five live stream cameras positioned in the photographers pit, so our shots are from outside of there for this report.

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

From the very first notes of song one, ‘Dalliance’, the audience were a lively lot as a mature aged moshpit ensued despite the severe heat. As everyone knows this lot are purveyors of jangly guitar pop and tonight is no exception. Listening to them made me feel how much I really miss John Peel who successfully championed the band. The sound this evening is nice and crisp and the lighting is white, so we can all see the quartet doing this business on the circa 4ft 6in stage.

The ten track ‘Seamonsters’ live rendition concluded after 41 minutes at 9:33pm. This meant that they had in theory just under half an hour to shoehorn in some other selected highlights. There were to be seven more numbers. These ranged from ‘Summer’ – which was getting its first ever live outing this evening and will be dropping on the 16th September 2022 ‘24 Songs’ single release – right back to the early days of 1988 with ‘Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm’ and the slightly disco introed ‘You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends’, to ‘Brassneck’ and the excellent ‘Granadaland’ (both from 1989 ‘Bizarro’ album), and naturally finishing with ‘My Favourite Dress’ (from 1987 ‘George Best’ album), which finished at 10:06pm.

Q: Did we all have fun?
A: David Lewis Gedge “I’ve missed this more than anything!”

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

The Wedding Present are:
David Gedge – vocals, guitar
Melanie Howard – bass
Nicholas Wellauer – drums
Jon Stewart – guitar

The Wedding Present setlist:
‘Dalliance’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Dare’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Suck’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Blonde’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Rotterdam’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Lovenest’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Corduroy’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Carolyn’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Heather’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Octopussy’ (from 1991 ‘Seamonsters’ album)
‘Brassneck’ (from 1989 ‘Bizarro’ album)
‘Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm’ (from 1988 ‘Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm’ EP)
‘Summer’ (coming 16th September on ‘24 Songs’ release) (live debut)
‘You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends’ (from 1988 ‘Tommy’ album)
‘Crawl’ (from 1990 ‘3 Songs’ EP)
‘Granadaland’ (from 1989 ‘Bizarro’ album)
‘My Favourite Dress’ (from 1987 ‘George Best’ album)

The Wedding Present live at Concorde 2, Brighton 13.8.22 (pic Charlotte Horton) (click pic to enlarge)

If you click HERE and pay £3.00 you can re-live the concert by accessing the live stream video files up until Monday 22nd August.

After that, you will have to wait until next year’s ‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ (again at the Concorde 2) on Friday 11th August (from 7pm to 10pm) and Saturday 12th August (from 3pm to 10pm). Grab your early bird tickets from Lout Promotions HERE.

Further reading on previous ‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ mini-fests can be located HERE and find more on The Wedding Present HERE.

Event flyer

Today’s set times

The Wedding Present setlist (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

The Primitives setlist (pic Nick Linazasoro) (click to enlarge)

Bonus photos by Scott Gouldsbrough from The Wedding Present and The Primitives live performances at R-Fest in Blackpool 6th August 2022.

The Wedding Present live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pics Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

The Primitives live at R-Fest 6.8.22 (pics Scott Gouldsbrough) (click to enlarge)

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