The Stereophonics are celebrating 20 years in the music industry, by releasing a new album, called Graffiti on the Train – which was released on Monday. We’ve seen the Stereophonics many, many times live and they have become one of our favourite live bands and we were very excited to see them performing at the Electric and to get a taster of what their new songs sounds like, live. They have had a few line-up shuffles over the years and this time they come as a five-piece.
What better way to start the gig off, than by opening up with some of their most powerful guitar anthems in their catalogue, which are the Bartender and the Thief, followed by Thousand Trees and then Superman! How fantastic and what an explosive opening few songs, packed with energy, packed with passion and that grit and determination that they give off in their live shows. Kelly’s voice was as husky, raw, fantastic and passionate as it’s always been. The songs got our hearts pumping, our bodies bouncing as if we had mini trampolines attached underneath our shoes, with our arms waving the Welsh flag above our heads (the only one in the room)! Stereophonics have played these songs so many times live and each and every time that they do, we just cannot get enough of them.
Graffiti on the Train, Indian Summer and Take Me came next, all from their new album and we were very impressed with what we heard. Indian Summer was released last week as a single and we think that their new songs sees the Stereophonics back and their best and writing songs that will gain them even more fans than they already have. Kelly’s songwriting ability remains undiminished and his continuation of writing songs that are in essence mini stories, layered over gushing guitars and sexy, gravelly vocals remain consistently of an incredibly high standard. Maybe Tomorrow gave our bouncing bodies a bit of a rest for a while at least! The perfect song to put your Jack Daniels and Coke high up in the air, hug your mate and have a sing-along with the band! The whole crowd joined them in singing the song and it was one of those goose-pimples moments that stays with you long after the gig finishes. The same could be said for Just Looking and Same Size Feet. The songs from their new album all went down a storm and it’s clear to see that it’s going to be another huge album for them and we’re glad that the new songs have that added oomph to them. Violins and Tambourines went down particularly well and it’s another really great track that will most likely be released as a single.
It was just another faultless display from them and the gig just went by far too quickly for our liking. Before we knew it, the whole set went by in a whirlwind of guitars, bouncing, singing at the top of our lungs, swooning at Kelly and then sadly, it was time for the encore! Their encore started off with Billy Davey’s Daughter, a song which Kelly described as being one of his favourites from their first album and he drenched the crowd with the heart-felt emotion of the song. Another song from their Word Gets Around album was Traffic and the crowd all linked arms and were swaying along with the song, we’ve always loved the lyrics to the song ‘she got a body in the boot? Or just bags full of food? Those are models legs, but are they women’s – are they men’s?’ Kelly’s imagination really is endless. We really can’t think of a better way to finish the gig on a complete high, than by performing their only no. 1 single to date – Dakota. Take a look at me now, take a look at me now, take a look at me now, take a look at me now ….. now ….. now…. and then they were gone. That went by far too quickly!
What struck us most about this gig was that the current line-up of the band just looked so together, as though they have really gelled and they looked at ease with one another on-stage and we felt a bit of that magic that we saw when we used to see them in their early days as a three piece band. They looked content and in control. Of course Stuart Cable will always remain irreplaceable, but we are sure that he would have approved of their new talented drummer – Jamie, who gave his all to the gig and left the stage as a big ball of rock ‘n’ roll sweat machine, who poured his heart and soul into the performance and he displayed that larger-than-life flamboyant stage presence – complete with big curly hair, much like Stuart Cable – which made him so popular with fans. Richard also added a lot of coolness to proceedings and we really don’t think that we’ve ever seen him looking so relaxed and so confident. Kelly was wearing his usual jeans and tight t-shirt combo and his hair was styled in that now famous rock-star quiff and he pounded the guitar like a lion chewing on a deer – powerful, hungry, happy, at ease and in his element. We said at the start of the night that they were one of our top three live bands and we left with that exact same view. Roll on seeing them at their next gig, then!