The Wonderstuff - 53 Degrees Preston - 1.12.06

Like their 80s contemporaries as part of the grebo scene, Pop Will Eat Itself and Neds Atomic Dustbin, The Wonderstuff also reformed a few years ago but are now down to only two founding members, rent a gob frontman Miles Hunt and guitarist Malcolm Treece. Stourbridge's finest are playing the smaller of the two venues at 53 Degrees and the fans may be older and physically rotund but the music hasn't dated meaning the Wonderstuff remain fresh.

New recruit, fiddle player and Amazonian stunner Erica Nockalls fits in well, though at times she does look a little nervous and uncomfortable in the company of four middle aged sweaty men. New single "Last Second Of The Minute" is typical stuffies, very folk rock with Miss Nockalls a fine fiddle player with the dense bass playing from Mark McCarthy producing a much
rootsier side.

Although this releasing new material, it wouldn't be a Wonderstuff gig without the hits and lets not forget that their canon of work is something to be very proud of. "A Wish Away" from their debut album "The Eight Legged Groove Machine" is pop, punk with spiky guitar riffs and a snarly angry vocal seething with petulance and disenchantment from Hunt. The beer bellied
men with receding hair lines jiggle about and jump around but wisely refrain themselves from a misjudged stage dive.

"Circle Square", one of their less jubilant moments is one of our own personal favourites, which has a furious fiddle frenzy out levelling The Levellers and a melody any music fan would immediately fall in love with. Miles Hunt explains that to continue financing the Wonderstuff Tour they've got to promote new album "Suspended By Stars" so a couple of new tracks, "Sun Goes Down" and "Angelica's Baby", which although slightly more mature than their vintage output has the spark of cocky sarcasm that Hunt is well known for.

The passion is still there with the band, they've always been a brilliant live act and enjoy performing and it wasn't for the 11pm curfew then they've have carried on even longer. Ending the set with "Size Of A Cow" and "Dizzy" minus Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Wonderful stuff indeed.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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