Another week, another Miles Hunt gig. This time it was just him and his violinist and partner (?) Erica Nockalls. In the intimate back room of the Half Moon Putney, it was the perfect place for Miles to hold court.
After the pretensions of the previous week, being kind and polite to everyone in the Birmingham Town Hall, he was back to his sweary, loutish best. The songs were peppered with forthright profanity-strewn anecdotes and most of the audience lapped them up. There was a small group of Wonder Stuff fans who chatted throughout the opening salvo of new material.
"If you lot shut the fuck up, it makes my job a lot easier. Why don't I come to where you work and talk like cunts while you try to do your work?" He volleyed forth.
Indeed, I had fallen out of touch with Miles' solo material since his earlier 'depressing trilogy' of the 90's. But the new stuff is better, enhanced as they are by the superb playing of Nockalls. Her talent is unquestionable. It would just be good to see her get a bit more involved in the stories as she is in most of them. A bit of patter between the two would make the 'act' gel and Miles can truly be part of duo as it states on all the promo material.
The anecdotes included tirades at Bono, en erstwhile target, and usually included Miles getting a bit miffed at something or other. Great story about a blowout on a California highway and a good Stuffie story about their radically different tastes in music introduced the subject of the dearly departed bassist and drummer, Bob Jones and Martin Gilkes.
The new album "On sale tonight, with other lovely souvenirs" is well worth the investment to further explore the duo's take on folk rock as is their last effort, Not An Exit.
The audience was filled with late thirty to forty-somethings and a fair few of them were very pissed indeed, stumbling around the venue, possibly imagining being in the Melody Maker tent at Reading circa 1992. But the atmosphere was genial and had an air of old school reunion.
Miles' voice is getting better with age and has lost some of its early naive charm. Bottles and bottles of red wine and thousands of fags later, he is becoming a great draw on this circuit and if the songwriting stays at this level, he will be able to shout at and harangue his ageing fans for years to come.