Ahead of the release of their ninth studio album in September, Stereophonics announced tonight's show as a warm up date before they embark numerous dates in the festival season. Prior to a jaunt around mainland Europe they'll play toward the top of the bill at T In The Park, Belsonic and the dual V Festival sites.
If tonight's audience are expecting a crowd-pleasing set or show to promote the new record, opening with 'Catacomb' is a curveball to all in attendance. An album track from their last release, it is a surprising choice which shows, if nothing else, that Kelly Jones' voice is as powerful as ever. Latest single 'C'est La Vie' is well received, whilst a surprisingly early appearance of 'Handbags And Gladrags' provides a huge sing-a-long. Tracks from their debut album remain firm favourites, with 'A Thousand Trees' greeted by a massive roar and 'Too Many Sandwiches' receiving an outing, while guitarist Adam Zindani takes lead vocals as the quartet cover The Beatles' 'Happy Birthday' in honour of a crew member.
Two other new tracks - 'I Wanna Get Lost With You' and 'Song For The Summer' - also get an airing, though crowd reaction is more kind than crazy, but 'The Bartender And The Thief' remains the dynamite in their catalogue that will always awaken a crowd. With their discography covering over 100 songs, the band have a task to represent each chapter of their story, but the selections of 'It Means Nothing', 'Could You Be The One For Me?' and 'Rooftop' are further surprises in the performance. For an act who usually play it safe in their song selection, it really mixes things up, but few fans could argue these are jewels in the crown. More predictably, proceedings are ended on the sure-fire duo of 'Local Boy In The Photograph' and 'Dakota', which get the huge applause you would expect for songs which are the calling cards of the band. They round off a performance which shows the quartet to be in fine form and as slick as ever, with evidence that they may be prepared to mix things up when they take to the stage.
Continue reading: Stereophonics - O2 Academy, Sheffield - 8th July 2015 Live Review
Kasabian and Calvin Harris are heading to V Festival 2015
Calvin Harris and Kasabian have been announced as headliners for this year's V Festival. The Scottish DJ and Leicester rockers were head up the bill at Hylands Park and Weston Park and will be joined by Sam Smith, James Bay, Ellie Goulding, The Script, George Ezra, Stereophonics, Olly Murs, Ella Henderson, Kodaline and Cvhrches.
Kasabian will headline this year's V Festival
Simon Moran, V Festival director, said: "We wanted to champion British talent at this year's festival and with the likes of Calvin and Kasabian leading the way we don't think it'll disappoint. The eclectic mix of established artists and rising stars, with a few more in the pipeline, means that once again there is something for everyone at V Festival."
Continue reading: Calvin Harris and Kasabian to Headline V Festival 2015
T's new Perthshire home will welcome a group of amazing acts.
Amazing acts have been announced to perform at this year's T In The Park including Kasabian, Avicii and Fatboy Slim. Despite notorious festivals to match up to, it is looking very likely that this year that T in the Park will blow people away.
T in the Park has moved to it new home in the grounds of Strathallan Castle. Organisers DF Concerts and Tennent's Lager are ecstatic about the festival's first year here, playing host to 85,000 fans this summer. Festival Director Geoff Ellis said: 'This year is going to be a very special one for T in the Park as we make the beautiful grounds of Strathallan Castle our new home, and we're thrilled that some of the biggest artists in the world will be joining us in this historic first year.'
Continue reading: T In the Park 2015 Announces Killer Line-Up For Its New Venue
The band used an impressive 2,056 words in their first three albums.
A tasty chunk of news for the music nerds: Manic Street Preachers have been found to be the most lyrically diverse act in a study of Welsh artists. Wales Online conducted the study to celebrate the release of the rock act's latest album, Futurology, and found that 2,056 unique words were used in only the Manics' first three albums.
The band emerged as top of the study, beating fellow Welsh superstars Stereophonics and Tom Jones. As the news site so appropriately points out, "For a band who sang "libraries gave us power," it's no shock that their use of language and words to get their message across."
For comparison, Cynon Valley group Stereophonics also scored highly with 1,453 different words used in their early back-catalogue, but Tom Jones' early work in the '60s saw just 867 words used over the his three first albums, with his third most-used word being "pussycat."
New single 'We Share The Same Sun', impacts Aug 12th
'We Share The Same Sun' the new single by Stereophonics impacts August 12th on the band's own Stylus Records.
Written by Kelly Jones and produced by Kelly Jones and Jim Lowe, this pulsating track is the perfect opener for an album laced with all manner of twists and turns. With a soaring chorus, it's an anthem made for both the car stereo and the festival field; and that's exactly where the band will be heading this summer.
Continue: Stereophonics - We Share The Same Sun
Coinciding with the recent release of their eighth studio record, which entered the chart at number three, Stereophonics are on a tour of venues smaller than their traditional UK shows. The jaunt sold-out quickly, indicating the band are still a strong live draw even if recent albums haven't had huge commercial success, and they've just released dates for shows in November that'll see them hit the country's arenas.
As with the new record, tonight's show is opened with 'We Share The Same Sun', though on stage it has a bit more muscle than the studio counterpart, which receives pleasant applause that pales hugely against the celebrations for 'The Bartender And The Thief' and 'A Thousand Trees'. This sets the pattern for the night, in which new cuts are dropped between songs from the entire back catalogue - and sees the exclusion of previous set staples such as 'More Life In A Tramp's Vest' and 'Pick A Part That's New'. In the main the move works, with the crowd enjoying tight renditions of 'Vegas Two Times', 'Superman' and 'Local Boy In The Photograph' amongst others, while even the tepid 'Could You Be The One For Me?' is warmly applauded. The only real clanger in the selection is 'Bank Holiday Monday', which whilst aggressive, seems to bypass the audience completely.
The replication of 'Graffiti On The Train' generally sees the band stay true to the release and 'Indian Summer' shows signs of already becoming a favourite. 'Violins And Tambourines', 'Catacomb' and 'Roll The Dice' benefit from bigger dynamics, with the first of those in particular developing into a dramatic crescendo that contrasts well with its mellow opening. By his own admission, Kelly Jones - who is in fine voice throughout - knows the blues of 'Been Caught Cheating' isn't what would be expected of Stereophonics, but it goes down well enough and provides the Welshman the opportunity to really demonstrate what a powerful vocalist he is. Audience interaction is mainly limited to small acknowledgements, but before the closing 'Dakota', Jones - a fan of the city's football club - breaks out a crowd-pleasing "Leeds Leeds Leeds" chant. The career-changing track - after eight years their first and still only number one single to date - is a simple and joyful anthem, providing a sure-fire way to send punters home happy.
It's been four years since Stereophonics released their limp seventh album 'Keep Calm And Carry On' and the interim period has seen former Noisettes drummer Jamie Morrison replace Javier Weyler. He'll be performing on an imminent tour of smaller venues before larger shows later in the year are separated by a summer of festivals - they've been announced for V and T In The Park thus far.
The lack of direction that characterised the last release has certainly been addressed by Kelly Jones for album eight - and those who favour the lazy 'meat and potatoes' tag for the band will have to find a new phrase. Whilst this is not a 'Kid A'-style reinvention, this is easily the darkest record the band has produced and terrace anthems are at a premium. 'We Share The Same Sun' has a big chorus and 'Indian Summer' is radio-friendly, but the former finds Jones in analytical mood while the string-laden latter forgoes the riffs usually associated with the 'Phonics. Orchestral sounds feature more prominently than most would anticipate, no more so than on 'Violins And Tambourines'; a brooding number with a cinematic feel that may seem tough-going but has a rewarding crescendo. The ponderous 'Roll The Dice' is enjoyably big band, while the aggressive all-out rock of 'Catacomb' sits nicely at the centre of the album.
A turn at blues on 'Been Caught Cheating' utilises Jones' strong vocal style well, a quality also evident on 'No-one's Perfect'; a melancholic ballad that is brutally honest and revealing. He has also produced one of the best narrative songs in the shape of the title track since the band's debut. Only with 'Take Me' does the experimentation fail dramatically, a dark duet with an unnamed female vocalist ambles over a haunting piano line but never hooks attention. The majority of 'Graffiti On The Train' does though and the lack of commercial aspiration is an important stride for the band's evolution.
Continue reading: Stereophonics - 'Graffiti On The Train' Album Review
2nd September, 1992