The Wonderstuff Reborn

Written by Simon Murray
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You’ve owned records by some bands for years. You might occasionally play them amidst a wave of nostalgia. You might venture out to see them play live ‘just one more time’, but there’s always the danger that you’ll be disappointed. That the band who provided the soundtrack to your formative years aren’t as good as you remembered. That they can’t quite cut it any more.


Not so The Wonder Stuff. And not so Miles Hunt – he is as captivating and enthralling this evening as he ever has been. As a frontman, he commands your attention from the opening bars of the first song to the closing riffs of the encore some 70 minutes later.

That the band can play songs decades old with the same energy and vibrancy as when they first toured them is to their credit. And it’s why tonight’s gig at the Forum is a capacity sell out. Whilst Miles Hunt and the rest of the band remain at the top of their collective game, people will buy tickets to see The Wonder Stuff. And make no mistake – they are still very much at the top of their game.

From the opening chords of Mission Drive to the urgent encore climax of Poison the band rip through their set, songs interspersed with banter and anecdotes from their charismatic frontman. Tales of hotel rooms, credit cards and straws (to cut, and then eat cake in the absence of cutlery) keep the crowd entertained and, for those dancing like the 20-somethings they used to be, offer a welcome breather.

More recent material thrown in amongst the mix of old classics keep the set list fresh and interesting, as does Miles and Erica’s acoustic performance of Welcome to the Cheap Seats, which follows Miles’ recollection of his initial encounter with the late Kirsty MacColl.

On the Ropes builds through its verses before exploding into chorus, Size of a Cow inevitably brings the house down, while the slower paced Maybe still tugs at the same emotional strings that it always has done.

If there was a disappointing aspect of the gig, it was to catch a glimpse of the set list which contained Don’t Let Me Down, Gently as part of the encore but which didn’t actually get played, presumably due to time constraints. Although in fairness, there will be enough aching limbs in the morning so perhaps a few overstretched muscles will have been spared amongst the crowd.

It’s perhaps churlish to bemoan the lack of a song from a set list. Indeed, the Wonder Stuff have enough of a back catalogue to play a different set list each night of the week without any compromise on quality. And for as long as Miles Hunt is willing to showcase his lyrical genius to the world at large we should all be grateful for what we’re given.


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Read 4818 times Last modified on Wednesday, 07 April 2021 13:28
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