30 years ago today my first gig! 'Zephyr' live at the top club Cwmaman! Stuart drumming! 🤘Kelly https://t.co/XNwXnjutYV
With their ninth studio release topping the charts earlier this year and its predecessor attaining platinum status, Stereophonics are enjoying something of a career renaissance. Further evidence of this are the multiple sold out arena dates on this tour, including tonight's show, and their recent announcement as a headliner at next year's Isle of Wight festival.
Opening with recent singles 'C'est La Vie' and 'I Wanna Get Lost With You', tonight's set perhaps reflects the reception of Stereophonics' recent albums. Naturally, the current release is well promoted with outings of 'Sunny' and 'White Lies', both of which see frontman Kelly Jones unusually take piano duties, while 'Mr And Mrs Smith' translates well to stage and allows drummer Jamie Morrison to shine. Rather than just singles from 'Graffiti On The Train', the audience also receives 'Been Caught Cheating', 'Roll The Dice' and 'Catacomb', the latter of which leads to the band visibly enjoying the chance to rock out. To their credit, Stereophonics employ a string section to provide the greater orchestral focus of recent material, as well as breathing life into staples in their set such as 'Traffic' and 'Handbags And Gladrags' - quite possibly the biggest sing-along of the show.
Even with the heavy weighting toward their recent work, Stereophonics of course knock out crowd-pleasers with consummate ease - although the 'Pull The Pin' and 'Keep Calm & Carry On' LPs are ignored altogether. 'A Thousand Trees', 'I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio', 'Maybe Tomorrow' and several others provide a reminder of the strength of their library, while teased new arrangements to big-hitters 'Local Boy In The Photograph' and 'The Bartender And The Thief' ultimately lead to raucous renditions of anthems still loved over 15 years after they were released. Invariably it is the band's only number one single to date, 'Dakota', which sends the masses home happy and covered in ticker tape and confetti. It concludes a clinical performance from an act who can still very much hold their own on the live circuit, and in Jones, have one of the strongest vocal performers in British rock music.
While Stereophonics have scored their sixth UK number one album with ‘Keep The Village Alive’.
A fortnight ago Justin Bieber scored his first ever UK number one with ‘What Do You Mean’ and now he’s back in the top spot again this week. The single has risen one place to reclaim the number one spot, after being knocked off by Sigala’s ‘Easy Love’ last week, which has now fallen to number two.
Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean has topped the UK single’s chart.
In the number three spot was Calvin Harris and Disciples with ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, which scored over 2.1 million plays this week to rise one place in the chart. Jess Glynne’s ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ fell one place in its sixth week on the chart, while The Weeknd’s 'Can’t Feel My Face' is a non-mover at number five.
Continue reading: Justin Bieber Is Back On Top Of UK Singles Chart With 'What Do You Mean'
After spending the summer on the festival circuit, Stereophonics release their ninth studio album 'Keep The Village Alive'; the follow-up to 2013's platinum-selling 'Graffiti On The Train'. A series of shows across Europe will be followed by a ten-date UK arena tour in December, culminating at the O2 Arena in London.
Recent single 'C'est La Vie' opens the record in urgent fashion, with vocalist Kelly Jones sounding as if he could trip over the lyrics at any point. It's a good-time tune with an energy that isn't seen regularly enough from the quartet. 'White Lies' is a shimmering attempt at arena balladry that may not be ground-breaking, but is hard to dismiss, while the influence of The Black Crowes is very much evident on the swaggering blues-rock of 'Sing Little Sister'. Those who criticise the band for being too safe will have further fuel with the radio-friendly 'I Wanna Get Lost With You', something of a generic drive-anthem, while 'Song For The Summer' is a sweeping number which utilises orchestral arrangements.
Based on a hypnotically looping piano line, 'Fight Or Flight' is an interesting number that may not be to everyone's liking. It has foundations in the cinematic sound of the previous album and builds to a climatic end, as does a highlight of this release titled 'Sunny'. The lyrics are at times lazy, a surprise given Jones is a heralded wordsmith, but it is some of the band's best playing of the last decade. 'Into The World' could test the patience of even dedicated fans, but 'Mr And Mrs Smith' will certainly have them back on board - it's another fun romp to get fans dancing and, should the band be brave enough to do so, could replace 'Dakota' as a show closer. Like much of 'Keep The Village Alive' it is more commercially-minded than the material of the last couple of Stereophonics albums - and this isn't a bad thing for an outfit with a not inconsiderable catalogue of hits. Detractors who may hope the band fade into heritage act status will have to continue waiting, while fans will no doubt enjoy this collection of mainly fine rock-pop moments.
Continue reading: Stereophonics - Keep The Village Alive Album Review
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."
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
30 years ago today my first gig! 'Zephyr' live at the top club Cwmaman! Stuart drumming! 🤘Kelly https://t.co/XNwXnjutYV
One more great shot from a fantastic night in support of @TeenageCancer Thank you @paulwellerHQ @ronniewood https://t.co/aOkPixNv2D
Oh what a night!!!! Good to play with the lovely @paulwellerHQ and @ronniewood again 🎯 https://t.co/FN2rJcFWH1
What a fantastic night at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of the @TeenageCancer charity x https://t.co/3y77Wshukx
RT @TeenageCancer: Our fantastic ambassador Kelly Jones @stereophonics kicking off his set with 'Caught by the wind' 😍#TeenageCancerGigs ht…
I was brought up on @bobdylan - to get a nod from the Master, makes me wanna write a new song! Kelly https://t.co/vtCwxXnpJw
Let the games begin! Kelly https://t.co/VBHwA6yQBa
Happy St Patrick's Day! Kelly https://t.co/Hi1ROULNPu
The Album is done ✅ can't wait for you all to hear! 🤘Kelly https://t.co/qgpZcqibKZ
RT @NME: They're back - @Stereophonics' tell us about their new album & 'still talking to young people & the working classes' https://t.co/…
Happy Friday people!! Love the ones ya with!! 💪Kelly https://t.co/sFIr3FO7BX
Merci @ouifm!! Thank you for all your support! https://t.co/1vVWCwNjIR
Happy St. David's Day everyone! Kelly ps. Mixes sound 🎧 huge! https://t.co/beq7EzgC0v
RT @TeenageCancer: Exciting news! Kelly Jones from @stereophonics has joined the line-up for @paulwellerHQ's #TeenageCancerGigs show: https…
Welcome to the mix 🎧 Kelly https://t.co/5VbOsMs5fo
Fun Friday! Shaving off a beard can show many sides to one's character...album cover?🤔😂 https://t.co/haNWWgruSO
It's a new day to start mixing album 10!! - COFFEE!!!! ☕️ https://t.co/ByKfST9kh3
Pleased to announce we are headlining @Y_Not_Festival on Saturday 29 July! Tix on sale now https://t.co/xQVM6B4aeP… https://t.co/XwzaBBavUO
Pleased to announce we are headlining @VictoriousFest on Saturday 26 August! Tix on sale now… https://t.co/reOUuovtXr
Pleased to announce we are headlining @KendalCalling festival 27-30 July! Tix on sale tomorrow (Fri) at 10am.… https://t.co/8YZSWDO4oc