Saturday, April 16, 2005

Take Fountain

The new Wedding Present album [after an 8-year break] is called Take Fountain. The story goes that Bette Davis was once asked by a reporter if she had any advice for aspiring actresses who hoped to someday make it to Hollywood. Her reply: "Take Fountain - it's quicker!" Its still good advice. Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards are often jammed; at least Fountain moves you somewhat steadily across town.

So, when Phideaux and I set out for the Troubador, it was obvious what route to take.

We took Fountain.


The Troubador is really intimate. The main floor is an open rectangular room with no seats, you just stand and/or dance around. The stage is about 2 1/2 feet above the main floor and runs along the long side of the room. There is a bar at the back with a little gallery above, with bench seats. We sat up there, front and center.

The opening act was called Crystal Skull, a 5-man band from Seattle. They were two guitars, bass, drums, and a guy alternating between keyboards, tambourine, and more drums. Think: Police meets Oingo Boingo. The guitars were clear, smooth, and almost staccatto at times; strong bass lines and drums. Overall, their musicianship was superb.

Then The Wedding Present came on and played a long, loud, excellent set. I thought the sound levels were a little off, and it was hard to hear the vocals at times under the crush of guitars, but that was o.k. They played a mix of older material, and a lot from the new album. Several times they went into long, extended guitar jams that were a real thrill.

They didn't play an encore, they just ended, brought up the lights, and David Gedge ran out to the front area where they had merchandise set up for sale. When was the last time you saw that: the front man himself at the t-shirt table talking to fans and signing autographs. I got the distinct impression that he really appreciated his fan base, even during the show when he would banter back and forth with the audience between numbers.

When I got up to the table, I bought the new CD [especially happy to hand my hard earned cash directly to David Gedge himself, not some flunky behind the register of some mall store] and he opened his pen and signed away!

I brought four other CD booklets and he was happy to sign them all for me:

Watusi [1994]

Mini Plus [1996]

2,3,go [CD single, 1996]

Montreal [CD single, 1996]


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