It's hard to believe such sweet music could come from such a sour source. Between the insults lead singer Miles Hunt hurled at the Palace audience Friday, England's Wonder Stuff proffered a mesmerizing brew of folksy psychedelia flecked with humor.
"Glad to see you're just as ugly as the last time we saw you," is the clean version of Hunt's opening line to the crowd, which seemed to revel in the disdain.
In words worthy of 2 Live Crew, Hunt asked the females to refrain from jumping up on stage, but his studied insolence hit its peak when he sarcastically announced that the working title of the band's upcoming album is "Kill All Americans." Their snippet of the Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma" was also transformed into "L.A.'s in a Coma."
Hunt's relentless posturing was at first slightly shocking, then amusing and finally just distracting from the band's delectable pop-rock. It occasionally seemed as if music played second fiddle to the angry young mannerisms. By the time Hunt finally uttered a terse, "Thanks, we'll see you again," no one was sure whether it was meant as a promise or a threat.