Monday, 14 December 2009

695 THE WONDER STUFF, Amsterdam, Doolittle, Bristol Bierkeller, Tuesday 14 March 2006

Back to 80's "local" The Bierkeller again, and an 80's feel completed by headliners The Wonder Stuff, now plying their trade in somewhat reduced circumstances, out of the music media glare. Nevertheless, the lure was sufficient to attract Rachel and myself, plus pretty much Tim's entire family! So we parked up in the inordinately expensive NCP at 8, getting in as openers Doolittle were kicking off their dull, wallpaper music, drum machine-led set. We particularly turned our noses up at bland covers of the Stuffies "On The Ropes" and Eat's classic 90's track "Shame". However, I didn't click on until after the set that Doolittle was actually Ange of Eat fame, formerly one hell of a dynamic performer but now just evidently treading water. How the mighty have fallen...

Chilled out at the bar as the place filled up and Amsterdam plied their more upbeat but still instantly forgettable folky rock. Noticed both Miles and Malc wandering around the venue with impunity, and also Phil Hurley's old buddy Russ Hunt!

The place was however still only about 3/4 full as we wandered onto the dancefloor fringe at the back for the arrival of the Stuffies at 9.30. An ebullient Miles larking around from the off and using his usual, "how the fuck are ya?" greeting, was evidently in fine fooling, gregarious and relaxed. The set however initially disappointed with poor sound (where are the guitars?) but an early "On The Ropes" entertained, and by "A Wish Away", a couple of numbers along, they were in full flow.

The classic 80's-90's Stuffies this may not be, but this band were always all about Miles Hunt; his swagger, his creativity in writing and performing their upbeat, flippant, slightly arrogant yet humorous and self-effacing folk-tinged pop rock. This was all in evidence tonight as the NME, "Neighbours", the music press, the NME (!) and other usual targets came under fire, "Let's go after the James Blunt crowd - with knives!" being a typical example of Mile's outpourings tonight. An hour long set, brought to an end by an earth-shaking "Ten Trenches Deep", preceded about 45 further minutes of mainly "Groove Machine" encores, and the unusual sound of Miles actually praising his audience! They earned their money tonight - reduced circumstances these may be, but The Wonder Stuff still know how to entertain!

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