By Louis - Hooked On Sonics - 04/08/2005

The excitement has been building in me for the past few weeks, ever since I found out that The Wonder Stuff were coming to Montreal for the first time since the early 90’s. I was there at that show way back then; they played to a packed club and I remember being blown away by the music and sounds that night and being so giddy as to see one of my favorite bands. In 1994, The Wonder Stuff were seemingly on top of the world: they were huge in their native England, where they were always on the cover of some music magazine and had ruled the UK Album and Singles charts since 1988. To think that tonight I would finally get to see them again.

Well, sometimes it is better to remember your heroes as heroes, and didn’t somebody once say it was better to burn out than to fade away? Sadly, The Wonder Stuff had burned out and packed it in 1994 in a boozed-out blaze of glory as it was meant to be. Sure, there were occasional Christmas gigs in London, but otherwise they had remained quiet until now. Maybe they should have left the memories intact and not reformed for a tour -- actually not all original members are here. The songs were there and they played many of their older stuff off 1988’s Eight Legged Groove Machine, 1989’s Hup and 1991’s Never Loved Elvis and a few from their recent album Escape From Rubbish Island. However, something was missing and the sparse crowd of about 50 people knew it too. Perhaps the magic was gone and shouldn’t have been messed with, perhaps after all these years, I was just expecting something that could never be attained -- but then again, The Pixies did not let me down with their comeback tour in 2004. Miles Hunt, singer and leader of the band, seemed out of it. Drinking a whole bottle of wine in a few swigs between songs can do that to a guy who is getting on in age. The sound was not that great, and the rest of the band did not seem interested in what they were doing, possibly disappointed with the turnout. It’s likely that as a result, they decided to turn off, but something was wrong from the beginning. I am sure that in England, The Wonder Stuff could still pack them in and deliver a show to be talked about for a long time. Unfortunately, tonight wasn’t one of those nights.

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