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Stereophonics - First Direct Arena, Leeds Saturday 5th December 2015 Live Review

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.

Stereophonics - First Direct Arena, Leeds Saturday 5th December 2015 Live Review

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.

Stereophonics, Keep Calm And Carry On Album Review

Review of Stereophonics album Keep Calm And Carry On.

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Stereophonics, Innocent Single Review

Review of Stereophonics single Innocent

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Stereophonics, Nottingham Trent FM Arena, Live Review

Review of Stereophonics live at Nottingham Trent FM Arena

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Stereophonics, You're My Star Single Review

Review of Stereophonics' single You're My Star.

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Stereophonics, The Enemy, Manchester M.E.N. Arena Live Review

Stereophonics, The Enemy
Manchester M.E.N. Arena
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

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Stereophonics, Pull The Pin Album Review

Pull The Pin
Album Review

The Stereophonics' decade-long music career has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, going from being hailed as one of Britain's premier rock bands to be critically mauled for the acoustic flavour of 2001's "Just Enough Education to Perform" album. However, this turned out to be their biggest selling record and while 2005's "Language. Sex. Violence. Other?" was met with positive reviews; it didn't match up it turns of sales figures, just going to show how strange the music business is. Having previewed new material back in spring, this is their sixth studio release and will be supported with a UK arena tour in November.

The sound of a news report and wailing siren begins "Soldiers Make Good Targets" before a monstrous metal riff comes rolling in, swiftly followed Javier Weyler's pounding drums. A mid-paced number, it gets cranked up at the chorus and is aided by a twisted solo, all of which firmly announces the band's return. With a bouncier vibe is "Pass The Buck", destined to become a live favourite with its killer hook and featuring a big Kelly Jones rant. Lead single "It Means Nothing" drops the tempo for a ballad inspired by the London underground bombings, as the band take a philosophical look at what really matters in life. It is saved from being drippy by a crescendo of guitars, before the trio again up the tempo for the previously available download taster "Bank Holiday Monday". With shades of Oasis' "Bring It On Down", the frenetic pace and spiralling guitars has already seen it become a favourite with fans.

It is often claimed that Stereophonics' success meant that Kelly Jones was no longer able to draw inspiration from the 'small town life' that coloured much of their debut, "Word Gets Around". Perhaps for the first time since that era, he has penned a narrative number that is precise in detail and utterly engaging. "Daisy Lane" is the tender tale of a schoolboy who was stabbed for his mobile phone on the street on which Jones lives. The gentle acoustic backing gives his voice prominence on what is a standout moment of the record. The brooding "Stone" follows it up, lit by a chorus of epic proportions, before the mood is lightened by the upbeat and poppy tones of "My Friends". Describing how he'd like a "girl down on me in the theatre", "I Could Lose Ya" is a sleazy track of simple, choppy guitars that and the type of chorus that quickly gets in your mind.

More fitting of Jones recent solo record, "Bright Red Star" simply features the vocalist and an acoustic guitar for a sweet ditty that proves a respite until the crunching distorted chords that introduce "Lady Luck". Darker in mood than previous tracks, the verses are rhythm based before the guitars kick in again for a mammoth chorus. "Crush" is a stomping track that should delight audiences as a pulsating sing-along and the album is ended with the climatic "Drowning", which wouldn't have felt out of place on the previous 'phonics record. Slow and patiently developed, it is a satisfying conclusion to the record and thankfully isn't overblown or overdrawn. It also provides balance to a collection of songs which sees the band take the best parts of their previous work and bring them together for a record that is consistently pleasing.

Alex Lai


Stereophonics and Little Man Tate, Empress Ballroom, Live Review

Stereophonics & Little Man Tate
Empress Ballroom, Blackpool
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Live Review

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Stereophonics, Rewind, DVD Review

DVD Review

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Stereophonics, Interview

Stereophonics -  Interview


Celebrating 10 years of musical excellence, Stereophonics take this special anniversary to reveal the private face of the band with the 2nd April 2007 DVD release of `Rewind'. This definitive documentary captures everything from the story-so-far. Growing up, getting together, sending off 12 demo tapes a week, the first break-out record, and on through growing acclaim, recognition by their musical peers, internal struggles, world tours, four consecutive No.1 albums, their first No.1 single Dakota, and continued success...

Rewind (the DVD) celebrates 10 years in the music industry. Do you see Stereophonics being around for a 20 year anniversary?
Ten years has gone by so quickly that I think another 10 years shouldn't be a problem. There's no reason why not, as long as we are into what we are doing I think it can last a long time. You only have to look at bands like The Stones, U2, Chilli Peppers and if you keep on top of your game and make sure you keep it fresh and challenging then you won't get bored with what you do.

Was it a conscious decision even in your early years to document what happened in the studio and out the road, which has now led to much of the footage on the DVD?
It began with a friend of ours taking photos so we could use them in artwork, and it just made sense to carry it on from there. We all love the footage you see on music documentaries from yesteryear with all the bad haircuts and warts n' all clips and we wanted to have that element on our DVD and to show how it really was. There's too many band DVD's out there, where everyone is trying to be so cool that it's about real as a flying giraffe !

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Kelly Jones, Only The Names Have Been Changed, Album Review

Kelly Jones
Only The Names Have Been Changed
Album Review

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