The Engine Rooms, Southampton

the Wonder Stuff

Arriving early at my new favourite South Coast venue allows us a good spot down the front to catch the main tour support The Lottery Winners. At around 7.45 they nervously take to the stage. I say nervously; lead singer Thomas lets us know of his nerves quite vocally explaining, “it’s our biggest gig yet Southampton”. He is unmistakeable with his attire and Peter Kaye-esque musings. Chief banter maker, once he settles down they deliver an accomplished set. Their early 90’s influence is not lost on this middle-aged crowd who have mostly grown up listening to the Wonder Stuff. Thomas’s pained, honest and heartfelt vocals strike an early chord while he makes no secret of his joy at playing this tour. Robert (lead) to his left is concentration personified, looking up only briefly from his shoegaze stance. “Young Love” is a romantic little ditty among a set of many lo-fi Indie/Pop songs. Katie (bass/vox) is smiling almost throughout although her bass is rather loud, aligned to Joe’s (drums) powerful hitting. There’s a slight Funk tinge to some of their songs but it’s largely Indie. Thomas makes a point of taking our picture to show his Mum-bless him; 7 years down the line and they’re on a big stage supporting a Premier Indie band, so he’s making the most of it! They leave to generous applause and promptly sell all their singles at the merch-result! Ones to watch, maybe?!

The Lottery Winners
The Lottery Winners 12345

With a now full to brimming Engine Rooms (one of) Stourbridge’s finest eventually take to the stage. Miles (Hunt) may be the only original “Stuffy” these days but it’s all about the songs. Tonight it’s a “best of” set with a few newbieís thrown in for good measure. It’s night one of the tour and Miles is in a good mood and the banter flows freely. As it’s the “30th Anniversary” tour what better way to kick off than with “30 Years in the Bathroom”. The moshing starts early as we’re transported back to the late 80’s/early 90’s. This South Coast crowd are truly up for it tonight. “Play” follows and there’s now more movement in the room. Erica (Nockalls) now arrives onstage with her trusty fiddle to a big cheer. “Here Comes Everyone” allows us an early breather before a rampant “On The Ropes” gets even more people in this crowd moving.

After an excellent “Red Berry Joy Town” Miles explains “it’s that time of the evening that both band and audience dread – the new song”! “For The Broken Hearted” is actually rather good and gets a decent response, while “Mission Drive” encourages the first big singalong of the night. However, “Circlesquare” is as trippy and psychedelic as it gets, inducing some weird and wonderful dancing. Miles suggests a hoedown to “Golden Green” which sees many takers, a now slippery dancefloor sees some hilarious moves. “Size of a Cow” takes the madness up a notch – so much so a panicky security ask us to calm down!

The Wonder Stuff
The Wonder Stuff 1234567

Miles dedicates “A Wish Away” to the dearly departed Rob (bass thing) and Martin (Gilks). This warmed up crowd quite literally go mental-easily the song of the night and a reaction to match. In fact it starts a classic 4 song section that has us eating out of their palms! ‘Radio Ass Kiss’ is simply a warm up for live favourite and staple “Unbearable”, while “Give Give Give, Me More More More” simply leaves us breathless and wanting more! As we catch our respective breath’s Miles dedicates “Welcome to The Cheap Seats” to one and only Kirsty McColl. Cue another hoedown! And that is where they end the main set.

The band return minutes later with ‘Cartoon Boyfriend’, then an energetic “It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby” and the crowd lunacy starts one more time. They end on the rather apt “Good Night Though” which is what we have certainly had. The band depart the stage one by one, completing their very own solos. They leave to long loud applause and many happy faces. This show will live long in the memory – 2 hours of sheer Indie indulgence. The Wonder Stuff once again deliver; and if proof were ever needed, there’s plenty left in the tank. With the pledge campaign for (official) album number 8 in full flow, one can assume there’ll be many more nights like tonight.

The Wonder Stuff
30 Years in the Bathroom
Here Comes Everyone
On The Ropes
Red Berry Joy Town
Caught in My Shadow
For The Broken Hearted
Mission Drive
Golden Green
The Size of a Cow
Be Thy Name
A Wish Away
Radio Ass Kiss
Give Give Give Me More More More
Ten Trenches Deep
Can’t Shape Up
Welcome to the Cheap Seats
Cartoon Boyfriend
It’s Your Money I’m After Baby
Good Night Though

The Lottery Winners

Meaning of Life
Young Love
I Know
Emerald City



Words by Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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