The power of hindsight is a wonderful thing and for the most part, my mind was elsewhere today rather than on attending another Stuffies show in 2019 but once I get inside the packed venue I take stock and switch off the outside world and prepare myself to be entertained. With a fantastic new record, Milo has certainly turned back the clock and tonight he’s promised to turn the clock back a full thirty plus years and dish up a helping of ‘Eight Legged Groove Machine’ and ‘Hup’ as well as some off the new album ‘Better Being Lucky’.
Milo took to the stage and individually introduced the band to the stage Malc Treece, Erika, Mark Gemini Thwait on Guitar and Bass, Pete Howard On Drums and Tim Sewell on Bass milo explained that before the band set about turning the clock back that they would be opening up with some off the new album ‘Better Being Lucky’ and with Mark joining Malc on guitar duty they opened up with the fantastic ‘Feet To The Flames’ which opens the new album and already it sounds like its been in the set for ever with a familar wonder stuff rhythm and Erika adding her considerable talent all over the song its then into ‘Lay Down Your Cards’ a more gentle number but showing how the band have evolved and are still capable of writing exceptional music. Tonight with the two electric guitars riffing it up ‘No Thieves Among Us’ sounded great with the audience welcoming the new material and considering it was the third new song at the top of the set and their heaviest in a long time this is being brought to the boil nicely. Bringing the end of the new songs (the fifth to be exact) ‘When All Of This Is Over’ the band take to the stage left and announce that that was the end of act 1 and in a short while they would be returning with ‘Hup’.
As you might imagine there would be many in attendance tonight who might have had considerable more hair when this album came out a full 30 years ago! The Wonder Stuff were about to try and wind the clock back to some of those memorable nights when they were the darlings of the NME and ‘Hup’ hit the indie charts full on and carrying on where ‘eight Legged Groove Machine’ left off Milo had unquestionably improved as a songwriter and possibly written their career defining album. Me, I still love it and hearing the intro tapes go up for ’30 Years In The Bathroom’ I get the hairs on my arm stood to attention and think back with a beaming smile of times gone by and following the band around on some amazing adventures. By the time we reach ‘Golden Green’ the audience are loosening up and the 40 – 50 year olds throw caution to the wind and gingerly get into the spirit of the evening. Milo (still ) with his mob of curly hair which he throws around to good effect is like the peter pan of indie tonight complete with beaming smile as ‘Cartoon Boyfriend’ sounds as fresh as the first time I heard it.
Milo does comment that by the time ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ chimed in Manchester peaked too early but he had high hopes for Bristol that they had more stamina and he wasn’t wrong. the place was alive as ‘Hup’ cruised to a finale with the brilliant ‘Room 410’. As we wound the clock back a little further for the thirty first anniversary performance not quite the same as the twentieth or thirtieth but still, totally in keeping with the Stuffies doing it their own way it was time for the ‘Eight Legged Groove Machine’ portion of the set as the band predominantly stripped back to Mark picking up the bass and milo and Malc sharing guitar duties with Pete still behind the kit it was ‘Red Berry Joy Town’ time and we’re off.
To be fair they played it in sequence and true to the debut album and boy did it sound good. they managed to capture that urgency and vitality that was what ‘Groove Machine’ was about it was youthful and fresh and still to this day reminds me of my youth and seeing a band kick ass not giving two flying fucks what people thought and if you were with them then jump on board they were happy to have you and if you didn’t like em then so what they never gave a fuck but thirty one years later not a lot has changed they still fill decent sized venues and this is their second time around the UK this year and with that new album in tow the Wonder stuff are having it and without much fanfare they seem to be going about their business with purpose and contentment less a lot of the drama from the early years but with a back pocket stuffed with great songs. Tonight saw two albums in their entirety and half a brand new album seamlessly work together and had they played the best of the rest we’d have been there all bloody night.
I started to day dream about some of the amazing shows I’d witnessed in the early years of seeing the band and songs like ‘wish Away’ were great markers. Damn, by the time Milo introduced ‘Ruby Horse’ as the “horsey One” I realised it was almost time and the evening would be done. I didn’t want it to end it had been that good. Mark and Malc worked well together and Mark fitted right in with the Wonder Stuff 2019 and as the band left the stage again after a spectacular and anthemic ‘Poison’ I realised there had to be an encore as there was one song missing. It was the obvious encore even if Milo didn’t have his loud hailer at hand it was time for ‘Good Night Though’ and one by one as the song played out they left the stage for a final time that was it 2019 done and dusted there were no awful songs and all that glittered was indeed gold the best line up of the wonder stuff for a long time just tore Bristol a new one. Can we do it all again next year for the twenty ninth anniversary tour of ‘Never Loved Elvis’ to coincide with the twenty seventh year tour of ‘Modern idiot’ you know it makes sense. why wait? call the bookers, It has to happen. Over and out.
Author: Dom Daley