We shouldn't care about David Gedge's pain. Really, we should be quite embarrassed. Typical lyric: "You stare into my eyes/I couldn't bear for you to realize/I'm so desperately in love with you, darling/And that's all that I can think of." We listen to the Wedding Present and turn to the cool comfort of ironic distance, or perhaps the fey abandon with which the band's founder (and last original member) embraces his gloom. At least Gedge is from Leeds, which is a better excuse than most Smiths-clones offer.
For the Weddoes, the only justification indulgent sadness needs is a good rock record. Enter Take the Fountain, the band's first album in eight years, a sometimes intricate, sometimes urbane, often loud venture into pure guitar pop. Staccato chords vibrate like an oscilloscope in a thunderstorm (it's always raining in Gedge's soul), and the drums, rather than falling into technoid formation, actually swing, as if Gedge had finally found the nerve to ask that bird to dance. She'll say no, of course, but then she always does. But without her -- and the obsessive angst she inspires -- Gedge and his core audience (record-store clerks, alt-weekly freelancers and temping actors) wouldn't know what to do with themselves. Turns out, they can just rock their traumas away.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 314-534-1111 for more information.