I’ve had such an up and down relationship with Stereophonics ever since my parents introduced me to Handbags and Gladrags as a kid. They have dipped in and out of my life but more recently back into it. After being asked if I wanted to go see them I haven’t really looked back. They were an incredible band live and to finally listen to a group that sounds the same live as they do in the studio is a god send.
As soon as I walked into the venue of the gig I could tell this was going to be a really hot gig. The venue so to speak was a basketball court with a stage thrown into it being surrounded by an eclectic mix of people. From 13-year olds being dragged along by their parents to teenagers who were only there for the newer tracks to a bunch of middle aged people’s fit bits flashing right in the corner of my eye as they clapped along knowing every word.
Once we all managed to wiggle our way through the crowd the support act had already finished. From what I heard they were a bunch of rockers called Firerod and their music wasn’t half bad. They really got the crowd going with people bouncing around and tapping their feet to the sound of heavy drums and intense guitar playing that seemed to drown out the whole room.
Once the support was over and the stage was reorganised the one and only Stereophonics came on. They kicked off the set with a bang and with one of my favourite tracks of theirs, C’est La Vie. Knowing all of the words to this newer track from the album Keep the Village Alive made the whole room light up. The theme for this song was a bunch of yellow lights and giving it their all to get the crowd going again. My god did it work. The room seemed to spring to life with people awkwardly moving their heads around trying to catch a glimpse of the band in action.
Next up was another fiery track, I Wanna Get Lost with You. Its classic guitar riff rung around the venue making even the horrific singers sing their lungs out at the top of their voices. Me being one of those. The graphics behind the band added to the whole feel of the track as the lyrics for the chorus where put behind the band as they played.
After a couple, more tracks and more chilled out tracks they sung Have a Nice Day. With the room getting hotter and hotter by the second this track to me was welcomed with warm arms as everyone just started swaying along and singing. No jumping around or clapping. Just the band and the audience merging to make amazing music together. There is something unforgettable about this track as it literally brings people together especially in these shittier times. It’s that little glimmer of hope you’ve been wanting for a long time.
I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio once again got the audience going with its chilled out sing along vibes. It’s a track that everyone knew which made the whole experience of being in a confined basketball court even better. With the smell of the local pool in the room next door occasionally wafting in it really got you to forget about all of that and just tray and be part of the music.
After all these chilled and relaxed songs came a 4-minute guitar solo that really made the crowd pick up and stare at the stage in disbelief as to what they where hearing. I’ve never heard a guitar solo quite like that live before in my life and I have to say its left me wanting to go and try and hear more of them. It was the most intense and magical thing I’ve seen and heard. The way that they played that was insane and when it all came to an end I felt that I could finally breath again.
A couple of songs later Stereophonics performed a very controversial track, Graffiti on the Train. To me this track is a bit drowny and whimsical in the studio but live its very different. I felt that to me it was a completely different track as everyone in the crowd just seemed to sing along and sway to the mellow tunes they were making. Hearing the live version has definitely made the track stand out a bit more for me as I used to never like it at all. There had to be one track that was better live and it appears to be this one.
Indian Summer was up next which to my surprise not many people knew the lyrics to. I thought it was a classic Stereophonics track but the crowd seemed to have other ideas with only me and a couple of others around me knowing the words. It was so beautifully played and to hear it live was a real treat in my eyes and it sounded even more perfect in person. They played parts of the music video behind themselves which only added to the whole experience and atmosphere they had created.
The next track was a brand-new song called All In One Night. As nobody knew the track it was a more unique experience to see a bunch of egger eyed fans to watch and hope as the track developed. For me it was a fabulous track with a sort of classic Stereophonics vibe to it that they seem to create in each of their songs. It was a beautiful sight to behold I tell you that now as once the song was over everyone turned to their loved ones and said ‘that was alright, wasn’t it?’
A Thousand Trees was one of the follow up tracks to the new tunes and it really got everyone singing along to the chorus. It was like everyone became a teenager again as it’s a very punk based track to me that really shouts out rebellious. Everyone around me old and young was singing along to it and it was the perfect environment to be in!
Towards the end of the show Kelly Jones did a medley of tracks acoustic and it was insane. The whole medley was a good ten minutes long and I can’t remember what each track he performed was but it was filled to the brim with classics. The whole thing was insane and helped bring the show to a slow end after a short break from the band.
Ending the whole show as a whole was Dakota. This is my all-time favourite Stereophonics track and I loved every second of it. With the lyrics on in the background I was in my element singing my little heart out along with every other fan in the room. For me they couldn’t have ended the show on a better track but I feel there was only one track missing from the whole set which would have made it even better. Handbags and Galdrags.
All images found from Google Images, No copyright infringement intended