The Wonder Stuff review: no-one could complain about the quality or quantity of material delivered

PUBLISHED: 09:34 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:34 17 December 2019

The Wonder Stuff headlining The Nick Rayns LCR in Norwich on December 14, 2019. Picture: Tracey Lunt

The Wonder Stuff headlining The Nick Rayns LCR in Norwich on December 14, 2019. Picture: Tracey Lunt

Tracey Lunt

The Wonder Stuff turned back the clock with a marathon set covering their latest songs and first two albums in full. It is more than 30 years since the band debuted with The Eight Legged Groove Machine and the gig’s rapid upgrade from The Waterfront to The LCR was testament to their enduring popularity.

The evening opened with another 80s/90s indie hero Jim Bob from Carter USM who really deserved to be a joint headliner. With acoustic guitar, a sparkly jacket and head full of brilliant lyrics he entertained an early crowd at 7pm. The number of Carter T-shirts and enthusiastic sing-along-choruses showed he had as much support as the headliners. The set, which culminated in glorious renditions of The Inspiral Carpets' This Is How It Feels and Carter classic Sheriff Fatman, set the bar high for the rest of the night.

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Miles Hunt opened the show introducing the band in the style of an American jazz club host then it was classic rock all the way with a polished set of songs from new album Better Being Lucky. No Thieves Among Us stood out with heavy riffs, giving it a rough edge, while violinist Erica Nockalls added a folky flavour keeping these new offerings in keeping with the band's earlier work.

This opening batch of new songs was followed by a 15-minute break which was the only chance to rest before the non-stop playback of the band's first two albums commenced. Miles and co kicked off the main set at full throttle with 30 Years In The Bathroom, the opening to 1989 album Hup. They ran straight on into the frenzied Radio Ass Kiss without pausing for breath They soon polished off 11 of the 12 tracks of Hup and continued unfazed into 14-track The Eight Legged Groove Machine. The album stands up as an impressive debut and the group used all their experience, energy and passion to give each. Only Unfaithful, a slow folk duet between Miles and Erica, offered any respite from the wall-to-wall rock. song maximum impact. While the format of the show meant their biggest songs from the intervening years didn't get an airing no-one could complain about the quality or quantity of material delivered on stage.

Even the crowd were starting to feel the fatigue as the show closed with Poison but there was still one track left from Hup for the encore, the aptly titled Good Night Though. Somehow the band managed to push the energy levels up a gear as Miles cavorted about the front of the stage and the rest of the group seemed to be battling to play the loudest until the members left one by one, leaving the drummer and bassist to bring the show to a thundering conclusion.

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