The Wonder Stuff's sleigh ride delivers a mouthwatering Christmas line up

Halesowen News: The Wonders Stuff's Miles Hunt in action at the O2 Academy in Birmingham. Picture by Heather Shaw, from Sleepless-Daisy Photography The Wonders Stuff's Miles Hunt in action at the O2 Academy in Birmingham. Picture by Heather Shaw, from Sleepless-Daisy Photography

The Wonder Stuff, Pop Will Eat Itself and Jesus Jones – Sleigh The UK 2013, Birmingham O2 Academy, Saturday December 21.

ANYONE around the indie scene in the late 80s and early 90s would say this was a mouthwatering line up of bands.

A trio of acts which, in their own right, all filled venues of this size and bigger back then, returned to reprise a tour from last year which left punters and performers wanting more.

Any doubts about how much rock and roll fuel these guys had in the tank was put to rest by Jesus Jones, who bounced on to the stage and delivered the goods with the vigour of men for whom the passing of time had gone unnoticed.

Pop Will Eat Itself (PWEI) can never be ignored – the current incarnation is fronted by original Poppie Graham Crabb plus Mary Byker (Gaye Bykers on Acid) and the band’s trademark power was there from the first note.

Crabb and Byker strutted around the stage full of the swagger their music demands, hitting the crowd between the eyes with a blistering mix of grebo metal and hip hop.

Ex-PWEI drummer Fuzz Townshend is now a full-time member of The Wonder Stuff so it was no surprise when he appeared on stage but the arrival of former bass player Richard March was unexpected.

They temporarily rejoined PWEI for a version of Def Con One which was simply awesome.

The Wonder Stuff has also seen plenty of changes in personnel but the construction of the set list, front loaded with new songs like Oh No and Friendly Company, sent a clear message that The Stuffies in 2013 is still a song-writing force to be reckoned with, not just a band to bash out the hits.

Frontman Miles Hunt continues to show he is happier than ever with his lot in life – singing during The Size of A Cow that these are (not 'should be' as the original lyric goes) the best days of his life.

Lead guitarist Steve Wyatt seems to have grown into the job by stamping his style on some of the lead parts in songs like Golden Green while Erika Nockalls’ fiddle playing lifted songs like Mission Drive to levels which sent the crown into raptures.

Some people look back and say these bands can never recapture the glory of ‘back in the day’ but there was little here to prove that theory right.

The indie era of the late 80s and early 90s was great because of outstanding bands like these and they are still hitting the highs, as Jesus Jones would say: “Right Here, Right Now”.

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