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Review: Stereophonics, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

The Stereophonics at Metro Radio Arena. Photos by Carl Chambers
The Stereophonics at Metro Radio Arena. Photos by Carl Chambers

Take 21 years in the music business, one of the best voices in rock ‘n’ roll, a jam-packed set list and a crowd of 10,000 singing them back at you and you’ve got the recipe for a Monday that’s anything but blue.

Despite it being a drab, drizzly start to the week, perennially-popular Welsh rockers Stereophonics brought the revelry of a Saturday night to a packed house at Metro Radio Arena last night.

Stereophonics just don’t stop as they put on a pulsating blast from the past of a show. This tour, which sees them play to 150,000 this spring alone, may be on the back of latest album Scream Above the Sounds, but this is a band not shy of embracing the hits that made their name.

It was a seamless set list, one which saw the longing melancholy of Maybe Tomorrow segue into the toe-tapping sun-drenched optimism of I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio.

With ten albums to their name, the ‘Phonics could probably do a second gig with the songs they didn’t include on this set list but all the big hitters were there - the thundering ‘90s beat of More Life in A Tramp’s Vest, the beer garden chills of Have A Nice Day, the nostalgia of Step On My Old Size 9’s and the slow burn of Mr Writer.

The set was as slick as Kelly Jones’ quiff, with graphics ranging from celestial scenes to sultry silhouettes.

For Handbags and Gladrags, the band brought their kit, as well as a couple of lampshades, into a centre stage and had what seemed like the entire arena swaying along in appreciation.

This is the kind of rock that’s made for stadiums and it’s where the Stereophonics shine - I defy anyone not join in the anthemic chant of tracks such as Just Looking.

A skinny jeans-clad Kelly Jones looks at home here as he probably does at home, hardly breaking into a sweat as he rasped his way through the lengthy set list with his distinctive gravelly Welsh lilt.

Other than singing, he’s a frontman of few words on stage but he did break from the hits to thank fans.

“The boss of this band has always been the songs and we’ve tried to do something different with every album,” he said, before recalling the early days of the band when they would play university stages in Newcastle.

He was joined by fellow founding member Richard Jones on bass, along with Adam Zindani on guitar and Jamie Morrison on drums, with long-term keyboardist Tony Kirkham in a super tight musical performance.

No wonder the Welsh flags were flying high last night - these dragons of the industry deserved every roar of appreciation.