31 March 2018 (gig)
05 April 2018
Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Pop Will Eat Itself and Gaye Bykers on Acid are just some of the T-shirts dug out from the loft and squeezed over slightly expanded bellies tonight. As expected, the crowd consists pretty much of 40 somethings and up tonight, but don’t let you think these guys aren’t ready to mosh! A few lads present tonight seem to have let the nostalgia get to them a bit too early and tried to drink like it was 1989 and probably will wake up wondering if they even made it to the gig.
As well as the plethora of t-shirts reminding us of the glory days of indie, there are of course hundreds of Ned’s and Stuffies t-shirts on the backs of over excited no so youngsters as we await these two fine bands to grace the stage. And what better way to while away the time by downing a few pints of Neds Wonder, yep, they got their own real ale for the tour! I wish more bands would do this.
Ned’s original line up piles on stage and they kick into Are You Normal? album opener Suave and Sophisticated, swiftly followed by Not Sleeping Around. The front third of the crowd is already bouncing with the mosh pit in place from the off. It’s immediately clear that the pristine performances that Ned’s were legendary for have not left them. The songs are sounding great and we’re shouting every lyric back at them.
The years, decades even have passed, and it’s easy to forget just how many great songs Ned’s had. They crank them out one after another, Until You Find Out, Walking Through Syrup, Trust, Less than Useful. There’s no filler here.
The band have recaptured their youthful exuberance and John Penney’s voice and delivery have lost nothing with age. A couple of times he says “ You have no idea how much fun this is”, but I think maybe we do.
Terminally Groovy, Happy and Grey Cell Green get the biggest cheers, but there’s not much in it. The Ned’s leave to stage to rapturous applause, we suspect they’ll be back for a couple more….
They can’t leave us without playing their defining anthem, Kill Your Television. The song with a chorus that’s always demanded to be shouted back at the band at the top of several thousand voices is superb. They follow it up with fellow God Fodder classic Selfish and leave us wanting more….
Most people in the audience tonight will have a favourite of these two bands, the majority will like both and a few will love one and hate the other. This is evident by the fact that it’s a tad less crowded by the time the Stuffies come on stage. It would have been the same if the bands had played the other way around. This reviewer loves them both but was always a bit more swept away by the Stuffies, I can’t wait.
Straight in with one of Eight Legged finest moments Red Berry Joy Town, the mosh pit has had a bit of a rest and is called back to action immediately!
Miles Hunt, grins back at us as we re-live our youth jumping around like idiots, wondering if we can pull off another 20 or so tracks without passing out. Talking of idiots, next up is On the Ropes from 1993’s Construction for the Modern Idiot, closely followed by Don’t You Ever from 2016’s 30 Goes Round The Sun, and it fits right in, particularly as most people here know the words and sing along like it’s an old classic.
Miles is the only surviving member of the original Wonder Stuff. Rob Jones and Martin Gilks have both sadly passed away, whilst other members have left and been replaced over the years. You wouldn’t guess so from watching the band tonight though. Not a note is hit wrong as they belt out one infectious legendary track after another. Can’t Shape Up and Mission Drive are superb, Golden Green is the wonderful hoedown that’s impossible not to bounce along to and Here Comes Everyone builds and builds into that singalong chorus again and again.
Erica makes her presence well known (and well received) on tracks like Circlesquare and especially when it’s just her with Miles on the acoustic guitar on the magnificent Room 512, All the News That's Fit to Print.
The best received songs, as always are from the hard to beat debut Eight Legged Groove Machine, A Wish Away and Give Give Give me More More More leave the crowd ecstatic, the latter closing the set.
Predictability is sometimes a good trait, and any Stuffies fan worth their salt knows that there’s a pretty good chance that early single, Unbearable is up next, they return to the stage and Miles smiles as a couple of thousand voices repeatedly shout “I didn’t like you very much when I met you” at him.
Set closer for time eternal has been the B-Side of that very single, Ten Trenches Deep. The churning, repetitive riff, is relentless and rapid and seemingly endless as the mosh pit grows to a grand size as more and more people come in for a piece of the action. Sweaty, exhausted and happy we leave for a couple of night caps on the pub on the corner.
Two very different bands with very loyal fans and lots of love from Stourbridge.
Thursday 5 April Newcastle, O2 Academy
Friday 6 April Glasgow, O2 ABC
Saturday 7 April Manchester, O2 Ritz
Thursday 12 April Bristol, O2 Academy
Friday 13 April Bournemouth, O2 Academy
Saturday 14 April Birmingham, O2 Academy
Sunday 15 April Birmingham, O2 Academy
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