Live review: Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls @ Music Room 22/09/17
Live review: Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls
Support: Will Hunt
Date: Friday 22nd September 2017
Venue: Music Room, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Reviewer: Paul Clark
It must be hard for a working songwriter with a back catalogue of 30 plus years to keep everyone happy with song selections, but on the evidence of tonight’s gig no one could go away with any complaints.
With the Wonder Stuff taking a well-earned breather at the moment, Miles and Erica have taken to the road with an extensive tour in support of the excellent new album We Came Here to Work.
Support act Will Hunt opens the night with a selection of tunes from his self-released EP, Momentary Romance and on the evidence of tonight he is someone that’s worth keeping an eye on. Theme Park Suicide and Lost Inside were the pick of his set.
Miles and Erica open with When The Currency Was Youth, which is a contemplative number, which is fitting given that Hunt has been chronicling the early years of the Wonder Stuff of late.
Hunt promises that they will only play five numbers from the new album. I doubt the audience would have complained if they had played more, as it’s an album that highlights duo’s exemplary songwriting talents.
The title track of the We Came Here To Work is an overtly political song and rails against the lurch to the right that the country has taken in the last few years. “I’ve kept the politics out of my songs until now,” Hunt says as he nails his colours firmly to the mast.
Hunt takes time to give us a master class in songwriting with Witnesses and A Matter Of Circumstance both top-notch tunes and “a lesson of how to get two songs out of the same the set of chords, ” he declares.
As ever we are treated to a selection of classics from the Wonder Stuff front man’s extensive back catalogue. It is good to get to hear Unfaithful from Hup played live again. Mission drive and On the Ropes sound great too, with their stripped back arrangements – although Mission Drive still explodes with all the intensity of the full band as the song reaches its close.
Given the prolific nature of Hunt’s work, it is a surprise that there hasn’t been a new collection of Miles and Erica songs for nearly eight years. In that intervening period he has been more than busy with numerous projects. Corny, But True is a reminder of the duo’s first album. It’s also one of the first love songs that Hunt claims to have written without deliberately trying to “fuck it up”.
As ever the excellent Erica Nockalls gently and impressively adds a vital element to the performance. She departs momentarily to allow Hunt to read through an extract from his latest instalment of the Wonder Stuff diaries. It’s a heartfelt tale about the late and lamented Bob Jones, the band’s old bass player. These books are inspired by Hunt’s journals and diaries, which according to its author needed a great deal of editing because looking back “I was a bit of a miserable prick.”
The ever-impressive Here Comes Everyone ends the planned set list and Hunt throws it over to the audience to suggest a few numbers.
The pair play Sing the Absurd, which they claim they haven’t done in a number of years. For something that was supposedly under rehearsed it sounded perfect to these ears. As ever, there is a lot of love for Room 512. It’s a song that was seemingly discarded as a B-side back in the day, but it’s one that can be seen as Wonder Stuff classic.
“Do you want Golden Green? We may as well finish on a high,” says Hunt introducing the last song before Erica leaves the stage. Miles ends the show solo with Don’t Let Me Down Gently and Unbearable with a little help from the audience adding harmonies.
“I always look forward to coming to Liverpool. After tonight you have made me look forward to coming back again,” says before he leaves the stage to mingle with fans and friends alike at the back of the room.
Paul Clark is a freelance journalist/writer, with a keen interest in music of many genres. He has been a sports journalist mainly throughout his career, but is finally following his passion and writing more about music.