Thursday, 27 May 2010

476 THE WONDER STUFF, London Kentish Town Forum, Tuesday 12 December 2000

The Wonder Stuff? Well, yup. After a few lean years, Miles Hunt has finally decided to get the old crew together again for a few shows. This one sold out in days, and was the first of 5, so tonight we were in with the true Stuffies die-hards! Heck, I travelled up with 2 of them, namely Rachel and Prov, as well as the Big Man. But first, we had to get there! Prov picked me up at 1/4 to 4, and we got Rach and Rich from work, hitting the road proper at 5 after Rich's Hungerford pickup. It then took over 2 1/2 hours to get as far as the Chiswick Flyover at M4 Junction 2, after a nightmare jam, with an overheating car. D'oh! So we thought better of trekking it across town, dumping the car in Ealing Common and hitting the tube, then getting over to Kentish Town and into the venue at 9 - just as The Stuffies were finishing their set opener "Red Berry Joy Town" to a rapturous reception from the sell-out crowd. Rach and I immediately ploughed through into the dancefloor melee, moshpit bound and pissing off so many people in the process (sorry!), and ending up 2 rows from the front, stage right, in front of Stuffies guitarist Malc Treece's set-up. Not bad for late arrivals!

The Stuffies had evidently been rehearsing their comeback, as they were in fine form after 6 years away. Miles was his usual flippant self, dissing the music press and asking the audience to embrace the rock star cliché stuff, i.e. lighters held aloft and suchlike, as, "we couldn't do that when we were trying to be cool!" And the band, with a new bassist in tow, were tight as a gnats chuff. All the faves were trotted out; "Cartoon Boyfriend", "On The Ropes" (my own Stuffies fave and finally given due credit by Miles) and a rambunctious sing-along "Golden Green", all met with hysterical rapture from the rosy-eyed Stuffies massive. I've never been the world's biggest fan of this lot and their slightly-delic, fiddly (as in - with fiddles) knockabout cartoon indie-pop, so I could see the flaws - "Caught In My Shadow" was thin and needed much more oomph, for example, and the Vic Reeves encore was simply an embarrassment (of which the less said, the better) - but I was probably the only one who felt that way!

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this set, and I'd certainly much rather have the flippancy and irreverence of the Stuffies and Miles Hunt than the po-faced miserablism of the Radiohead impersonators or the misogynist US date rape rock bunch. A bit of life being brought back into rock, you never know. Welcome back, the Wonder Stuff!

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