25 Miles

Posted on Sunday 10th September 2017 21:52 by FreckFest

"Twenty five years ago, when we played in that big pile of rubble over the back there," said Miles Hunt, pointing in the general direction of what was once the Magnum, "I'd have been very nervously introducing this next song as a new one." Launching into Circlesquare, one of his greatest hits, he needn't have been worried about the reaction on Friday night. With a capacity crowd on its feet and belting out every word with carefree abandon, Miles and his violin-playing partner Erica Nockalls delivered a brilliant set; a perfect mix of brand new material and the choicest of choice cuts from The Wonder Stuff's extensive back catalogue. 


Looking not a day older than he did that last time he was in Irvine, the 51 year-old Miles, along with the accompanying Erica, began the set with half a dozen songs from their brand new album 'We Came Here To Work'. Acoustic-based, coated in atmospheric violin and wrapped in eerie harmonies, they drew the audience in. Freshly released that same day, the Irvine audience were one of the first to hear these songs in the live setting.


It was the old material though, the Wonder Stuff hits, that the audience were desperate to hear, and just as the gig was beginning to teeter slightly on the edge of flatness, Miles ramped the whole thing up a gear or two with a slew of classics. Mission Drive, Welcome To The Cheap Seats and On The Ropes flew past in a blur of frantically scrubbed acoustic guitar and crowd-enhanced backing vocals. Around their second album The Wonder Stuff gradually moved away from electric guitars to a more punkish folk sound, and the songs from this era sounded terrific with both Erica’s violin and a rabidly participating audience who knew every word, every ad lib from the records.


Eschewing the more traditional break-then-encore routine of most bands, Erica left Miles alone to tell some Wonder Stuff stories, reading a very funny but in the main unpublishable one from one of his tour diaries. With the audience in the palm of his hand, he discarded his set list and asked instead for requests. Cue thunderous shouting in a bid to be heard. Most of the audience's requests were played, with Golden Green, Don't Let Me Down Gently and Give Give Give Me More More More rounding of a raucous night of music; a foot stomping, wall thumping, heart-warming night in with one of the Irvine music scene’s true heroes.



"We had a great night," said Miles afterwards. "Let's do it again sometime." You can be certain we will. Watch this space…


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