In aid of charity Global’s Make Some Noise, Stereophonics took to the stage at Cardiff University’s Great Hall for, perhaps, their most intimate show of the past twenty years. This twenty-year anniversary also celebrates the release of their first album ‘Word Gets Around’ and it seems that the hype that surrounded the Welsh rockers is as blatant as ever. Prior to the gig, the band announced a 2018 UK tour, playing the 30,000 capacity Cardiff City Stadium and Wembley Arena. With this in mind, the proposition of seeing the band playing in a twelve-hundred capacity venue certainly highlighted the exclusivity and significance of the event.
The Cwmamam band opened their triumphant two-hour set with ‘Caught by the Wind’, the track which also starts their newly released album ‘Scream Above the Sounds’. The Cardiff crowd welcomed the opener with a huge reception, however were perhaps most satisfied when a trio of ‘phonics favourites (‘I Wanna Get Lost With You’, ‘Bartender and the Thief’, ‘Have a Nice Day’) proceeded. The track ‘I Wanna Get Lost You’ empowered the crowd to imitate the guitar riff, with the same effect being replicated in ‘The Bartender and The Thief’. Although two different styles of music, the latter being more ‘rocky’, this perhaps highlighted the band’s eclectic catalogue of indie bangers that they could pick at their disposal. Again, the trend of sing-along anthems continued with ‘Have a Nice Day’, with the crowd belting the ‘do do do’ melody back at Kelly Jones (vocalist and guitarist).
Before performing the next tune, Jones gave a brief story of how they wrote these songs, providing a personal response to the songs to even the most die-hard fans. He detailed that in rocky ballad tune ‘Graffiti on the train’, he encountered three hooded adolescents on his roof, which he greeted them with a ‘Why the f*** are you on my roof?’.
Whilst amusing the audience, an emotional segment of the gig was dedicated to the passing of Stuart Cable, the original drummer of the band. Addressing the crowd, ‘I’ve never done this before’, Jones then performed an emotional rendition of ‘Before Anyone Knew Our Name’ with the piano as the only accompaniment. Following the touching performance, the Welsh crowd then applauded and led the impromptu chant ‘There’s only one Stuart Cable’. It seemed fitting that the tribute was conducted due to the anniversary of the debut album, and the acoustics of the small Great Hall provided for an electric yet emotional atmosphere.
Towards the latter stages of the gig, the band played several songs from their new album and considering the album had been released the day before the gig, the crowd were understandably unfamiliar with the debuts of songs such as ‘Cryin’ In Your Beer’ and ‘What’s All The Fuss About?’. This perhaps juxtaposed the rest of the gig, which consistently saw an energetic crowd with an electric atmosphere. However, chaos was resumed once the band returned to older songs such as ‘A Thousand Trees’. Of course, a Stereophonics gig isn’t complete without the highly-anticipated closer, ‘Dakota’. The indie-ballad started with Jones performing a slow solo rendition of the chorus, quietly humming the chorus ‘You Made Me Feel Like The One’, encouraging the crowd to sing back. Yet, when the band’s number one single reached the chorus, the crowd seemed to find a new level of volume, roaring the words back and epitomizing Welsh pride.
By exhibiting their tightness as a band as well as their diverse discography, it is undeniable that Stereophonics know exactly how put on a great rock gig. With other additions such as Jones’ intimate piano playing and the inclusion of a brass section, it appears that Stereophonics have a lot of goodness up their sleeve when it comes to a live show.