As 2023 draws to a close it seems right that I find myself somewhere waiting for The Wonder Stuff to rock up and rock out with some anniversary shenanigans or other and tonight it just so happens to be a celebration for their fourth album ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’. Now, where the fuck did those decades go? Thirty years and counting and one thing is some of us are still here (always a good thing) and again Milo seems to be in great spirits and the Milo of the past few years is a refreshing youngish man and it was commented how nice it is to be nice and Milo looks like he’s having a ball a disposition he’s had for quite a few tours now and we like it.

Anyway, a Late substitution for this evening in the Empire is Dodgy frontman with a wonderful full head of hair and a lovely smile and a fistful of happy-go-lucky songs that are befitting of a man from the midlands with such an engaging smile (must be something in the air round that way). Armed with an acoustic guitar and a few tales he did a sterling job of warming up the quickly filling Empire with some classic Dodgy like ‘Staying Out For The Summer’, ‘In A Room’, ‘Grassman’ and ‘Good Enough’. His voice sounded strong but in a flash, his job was done.

Just before nine the house lights go off and the band move purposefully to their starting blocks and ‘Construction’ begins. The magnificent ‘Change Every Light Bulb’ is the sound of the charge as every track off the much’ underrated ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’ unfolds and as good as it is to always hear ‘On The Ropes’ or the brutal ‘I Wish Them All Dead’ its also a joy to hear ‘Storm Drain’ or ‘Hush’ in all their glory and boy did they sound good. By the time we reach ‘Sing The Absurd’ it’s a realisation that we’re almost done for the entire album. The introductions are short and sweet and we’re left with a few well-placed B sides like ‘Burger Standing’ and ‘I Think I Must Have Something Really Useful To Say’ before Milo takes the band off for a sneaky smoke and then some more of a best of set. However, if you ask me you’d need another two-plus hours to whip through the remaining “Best Of” set so the second portion begins with a sprightly ‘Ooh She Said’ and a rapid bounce-a-thon ‘No For The 13th Time’ it was like the old days with everybody warmed up it’s like the decades hadn’t passed and to be quite frank there will be a lot of people who might have some regrets come the morning but living for the moment this is like the eight-legged grooves are certainly on manoeuvres. ‘Mission Drive’ is followed by ‘Caught In My Shadow’ and then ‘Size Of A Cow’ wraps up the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ tracks and everyone is beaming (including Milo)

Erika who once again looks splendid in her golden gown moves her bow to signify its ‘Golden Green’ time as ‘Hup’ makes an appearance. Some of the usual suspects are then wheeled out closing the second set with a faultless ‘Give Give Give Me More More More’.

For a final encore and much deserved I might add Milo announces that this is definitely the last fuckin time we will get to hear ‘Dizzy’ but he said that last week. ‘Unbearable’ only leaves a magnificent ‘Ten Trenches Deep’ and we are now definitely done. Sadly no time for ‘Good Night Though’ which would have been the cherry on the icing on the cake for me but that can happen next time, right Milo? A triumphant return to the Empire and a magnificent set that paid respects to a much-underrated album that is ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’ I only wish is we could do this all again in the not-too-distant future. Tonight the Wonder Stuff were once again dishing out the Wonderful Stuff. I know it’s only rock n roll but boy do I like it. Have I said it was magnificent? Well, it was.

Author: Dom Daley

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