The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016

The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016The Wonder Stuff + The Wedding Present + The Lottery Winners @ o2 Academy 19th March 2016

The Wonder Stuff headline-2

Was it coincidence; this gig falling on the actual 30th anniversary of The Wonder Stuff forming? I would hope that it was part of a plot to make sure that the spiritual home and location of the meeting (in Cradley Heath as it happens) where Miles Hunt bowled up with a guitar and a borrowed amp, witnessed this anniversary.

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I would like to think so but given the turbulent and sometimes tragic goings on you can never be too sure that anything is planned. Whatever, the rest is history; thirty years of history.

A good deal of that history was on show tonight, but it was interesting to see that for a goodly proportion of the crowd some of this history had passed them by. I tend to crudely divide The Wonder Stuff’s catalogue into two halves: the indie part and the hoe-down part.

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Erica Knockalls is an integral part of The Wonder Stuff in 2016; in fact she has been for years. She has brought a lot to the band but by the same token some of the material just suits her. She was a vision in red tonight but only on stage for around half the time, such was the emphasis on the band’s earlier material.

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The crowd were into the Erica -inspired parts of the performance, dancing jigs and leaping about, but slightly more circumspect when the more serious stuff was on offer. The set was constructed well enough to keep things going, showing all the experience of those thirty years but I’m sure there were a fair few who thought Miles Hunt was serious when he pretended to introduce Dizzy. Come on mofos, you must have heard Radio Ass Kiss or Cartoon Boyfriend before tonight. Or maybe you really did expect Vic Reeves to materialise.

The Lottery Winners -6

That experience was referenced by the first band tonight, The Lottery Winners. Lancashire’s own obviously appreciated the company that they were keeping. But were no slouches themselves, dedicating Elizabeth to both The Wedding Present and The Wonder Stuff for all that they were learning.

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Front man Thomas Rylance was resplendent in a newly purchased Mickey Mouse jacket; an apt motif continuing the Disney theme, as he bears a striking resemblance to Mr Incredible.

Their poppy harmonies were like a reflection of his character; gentle but cheeky and mischievous. It’s not like they are copyists or anything but they are living in a congested space. My heart wishes them greater things but my head is reminded of bands like Brother. Where are they now?

The Wedding Present -6

The Wedding Present remain here and now, with a new concept album scheduled for later this year. They may have been tempted to roll out a full “greatest hits” set but instead included 56, Broken Bow and Rachel. The usual suspects were there though and the fans waiting for The Wonder Stuff warmed themselves up with a good natured mosh to Kennedy, Dalliance and Brassneck.

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Regular visitors to Brumlive will know we have covered The Wedding Present a lot. To be honest it has become much of a muchness so new songs and a new album are very welcome, and frankly overdue, after a quiet storm of repackaging and re-releasing.

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They still had more new things to offer than The Wonder Stuff, who ran through those thirty years from Eight Legged Groove Machine to 30 Goes Around The Sun and the solitary new tune For The Broken Hearted. But the new stuff was not the point. The long list of hits and the signature songs were all there. This was a celebration, complete with cake and thirty candles brought on stage and an audience that was up for the party.

Crowd-2

Review: Ian Gelling

Photographs: Stephanie Colledge

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