published: 31 /
Nicky Crewe watches Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls play a humorous and acoustic set of Wonder Stuff classics and songs from their new CD, 'We Came Here to Work'.
I recently reviewed Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls' new CD, 'We Came Here to Work'.
Having really enjoyed listening to their new material, I was looking forward to seeing them live.
The Backroom at the Greystones pub is a great small venue, big enough for a decent crowd and small enough to create an intimate atmosphere. It had sold out and the place was packed with fans of Miles Hunt, Erica Nockalls and the Wonder Stuff.
Miles and Erica had created new songs for their acoustic gigs, aiming them at a more "genteel audience" in Miles’ words. Perhaps a little tongue in cheek, but everyone was ready to listen and there to support.
Will Hunt took the stage first. He’s Miles’ cousin and there was something familiar about his looks and the quality of his voice. His set of very personal songs set a thoughtful tone.
Once he’d finished, Miles came on stage to set up with no fuss and no announcement. The audience were busy going back and forth, greeting friends, buying drinks. Very relaxed. Very genteel.
Miles and Erica took the stage and, after some monitor issues, launched into 'When Currency Was Youth' from the new album. They make a big sound. It’s hard to believe there’s only the two of them. Their distinctive vocals and guitar and fiddle instrumental arrangements create a connection between their new songs and their Wonder Stuff history. Miles talked about the new album, about politics seeping into his lyrics, about his socialist family background.
He warned us that they weren’t going to play the whole of the new album, though I would have been more than happy if they had. 'We Came Here to Work', 'Witnesses', 'Matter of Circumstance' and 'The Sweetest of Bitterest Ends' followed. He was self-deprecating - "That’s the last of the new songs and then we’ll play something you like." He needn’t have apologised. The new songs sounded great.
Old favourites followed including 'Unfaithful', 'Mission Drive' and 'Circlesquare' from Wonder Stuff days. People around me were singing along.
Erica took a break and Miles regaled us with tales from the Wonder Stuff diaries. He wrote two more volumes alongside writing the new album earlier this year. Back when the band were living like the Monkees in a swanky five bedroom apartment on Bolsover St. in London. Needless to say, the adventures were hilarious.
I’m looking forward to listening to Miles talk about these diaries at Manchester’s Louder Than Words festival in November.
Back to the music, Vent 414’s 'Fixer' followed by 'Here Comes Everyone'. For the encores Miles invited the audience to shout out requests, performing 'Maybe' and 'Room 512'.
This was a concert that more than met expectations. The audience were anything but genteel in their appreciation.
A major power cut at home meant I had to make a quick getaway. Thank goodness. it didn’t take out the Greystones. I would have loved to have thanked Miles and Erica for a great evening, and I look forward to hearing more about the Wonder Stuff diaries and their song writing when I see him in conversation at Louder Than Words.