The Wonder Stuff: London Kentish Town Forum

It's a timely reminder that, at their peak, the Stuffies were one of the biggest bands on planet pop...

“It might have been six years, but we still pick the fucking setlist, OK?” growls Miles Hunt as the umpteenth cry for ‘It’s Yer Money I’m After, Baby’ reaches his ears. And thank God for that. Up until this point – roughly halfway through – you’d be forgiven for thinking that ol’ acid tongue might have actually mellowed. And he has, to an extent. But get him going and he’ll get all stroppy and misanthropic with almost effortless ease. We want him to.

So then he lays into Radiohead (before a skeletal ‘Song Without An End’ he claims Thom Yorke and co. pinched their idea of making long electronic instrumentals) and of course his old sparring partner NME (“We don’t have to worry about getting in it anymore. We can do what we want”).

And, of course, they do their thing. Let’s just say nobody here expected a two-hour long space rock jam or anything silly like that. It’s anthems all the way here, from the bitter introspection of ‘Mission Drive’ to the plinky-plonk music hall madness of ‘The Size Of A Cow’.

Suffice to say the place is going mental. Nearly a decade on, it’s a timely reminder that, at their peak, the Stuffies were one of the biggest bands on planet pop. History has not been kind to them, but these shows prove just how fervent and rabid a following they had and have retained. A bit less hair, Hunt included, but faculties intact. And they’ve all brought their kids.

It’s not a total thumbs-up though. ‘Radio Ass Kiss’ and ‘Who Wants To Be The Disco King?’ were petulant, self-indulgent whines then and still are, while the truly awful proto-Levellers tosh that is ‘Welcome To The Cheap Seats’ also gets an unwelcome airing. All is forgiven later, though, when the five-piece, with new boy Stuart Quinnell on bass, blast through the spiky cartoon punk faves ‘Unbearable’ and ‘A Wish Away’. Oh, and Vic Reeves comes on to do ‘Dizzy’ and forgets most of the words. No matter. The by-now-delirious punters are more than happy to fill in, much to Miles’ delight. He smiles a lot tonight.

Still didn’t play ‘It’s Yer Money…’ mind. The contrary old bugger.

Alan Woodhouse