Words by Ed King
On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April, the Love from Stourbridge Tour comes to the O2 Academy Birmingham – with The Wonder Stuff and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin both playing live, alongside a DJ set from Graham Crabb of Pop Will Eat Itself.
Doors open at the O2 Academy from 7pm, with tickets priced at £34.25 – as presented by Academy Events. For direct gig information, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.
Back in the hey days of the late 80’s and early 90s – when Indie meant independent, the NME was still credible, and a singles chart position meant you’d actually sold some records (that were actual records), Britain’s alternative music scene was a pretty awesome place. And whilst Seattle was spewing out Cobain and Cornell (R.I.P. gents xx) slap bang in the middle of it all on this side of the pond was The Midlands, with The Wonder Stuff and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin packing out shows at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre, The Hummingbird, and other 3k capacity venues before they became a haven for jungle and knife crime.
Both hailing from Stourbridge, a place God apparently created one wet Tuesday afternoon, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and The Wonder Stuff ran somewhat parallel to each other – with the former getting their ‘big break’ as the support band on the latter’s tours in 1989 and 1990. And aside from having the best name/t-shirts in music at the time (and possibly for some years afterwards, we’re open to suggestions here) Ned’s Atomic Dustbin are the edgier of the two, with notorious mosh pits, ferocious live shows, and overt murderous intent towards the nation’s goggle-boxes.
The Wonder Stuff, on the other hand, were the top rung of the Indie ladder back in ‘the day’ with consistent chart success, an international fanbase, and headline slots at leading UK music festivals – releasing four albums in five years, until the band’s split in 1994, with three of those LPs breaking the Top 5 in the official UK Album Charts. Their debut, Eight Legged Groove Machine, reached No.18. The Wonder Stuff may not be as angst ridden as Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (may I present Exhibit A, ‘Dizzy’, your honour) but they achieved phenomenal success and stayed rock and roll to the core, even when sharing the mic with Vic Reeves. They dressed a little better than Ned’s back then too.
But the best thing about these two bands is that if you stumble over their music today – regardless of age or naivety/cynicism – it still stands up, nearly 30 years after the first people upturned these Stourbridge stones. But I guess that’s what the Love from Stourbridge Tour is all about, dragging out the old fans for a night of nostalgia whilst gaining new fans by just being solid musicians performing on stage.
And whist there is new/newish material out there on-shelf and on iTunes, it wouldn’t be a bad show if we just sat in the least expensive part of the room and smashed a few Samsung flat screens… don’t worry, the reference points are below.
‘Welcome to the Cheap Seats’ – The Wonder Stuff
‘Kill Your Television’ – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, the Love from Stourbridge Tour comes to the O2 Academy Birmingham – with The Wonder Stuff and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. For direct gig information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit https://bit.ly/2IMaduJ
For more on The Wonder Stuff, visit www.thewonderstuff.co.uk
For more on Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, visit www.nedsatomicdustbin.com
For more on Pop Will Eat Itself, visit www.popwilleatitself.net
For more from the O2 Academy Birmingham, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham