Stereophonics - Cardiff Castle, 2 October 09 Live Review

Review of Stereophonics live at Cardiff Castle, Cardiff on Saturday October 2, 2009.


Always quick to point out a band's mistakes, the press should also be as keen to highlight when a band show a touch of class, so well done to Stereophonics who return to the site of a benchmark 1998 show and keep ticket prices the same over a decade later - £12.50. The purpose of this 10,000 capacity show is to preview their seventh studio album, 'Keep Calm And Carry On', due for release in November.

It's always a brave move to begin your set with a new song, yet that's the move that Stereophonics make in the shape of 'She's Alright', a decent bouncy number but not with the quality to encapsulate an expectant crowd on first listen. Backfiring somewhat, the quintet turn to some sure-fire hits to get the party started, and that's certainly what happens with 'A Thousand Trees' and 'More Life In A Tramp's Vest', before giving a rare but crowd-pleasing outing to 'Looks Like Chaplin'. It is followed later by 'Too Many Sandwiches' and 'Same Size Feet', giving a reminder of how strong Stereophonics' catalogue is, especially when mixed in with career-spanning hits such 'Mr. Writer', 'Pick A Part That's New' and 'Handbags And Gladrags'. Each is well-received and whilst the band is sometimes criticised for a lack of adventure in their music, there are few complaints if any from those in attendance.

Of the new tracks showcased it is new single 'Innocent' that displays the potential to be a future anthem for the band, while 'Could You Be The One?' is a ballad that has people clapping but doesn't really take off. 'I Got Your Number' is a pleasing glam-rock stomper, while 'Trouble' also is a rocky number that makes an immediate impact despite an iffy chorus couplet. The overall impression is of a band sticking to what they know, which will please and put-off in the same way the band seems to have done for their last few records. It's unlikely that this will worry Kelly Jones, who is in jovial mood and shares stories with the band, before announcing a few songs remain before everyone can hit the pub - who says that he has lost his working-class roots? A closing salvo of 'Local Boy In The Photograph', 'Maybe Tomorrow', 'Just Looking' and 'Dakota' rounds things off in a familiar fashion and sees the crowd once again dancing in great spirits, despite some inclement weather which has been present throughout the show, and rounds things off nicely in anticipation of the new release.

Alex Lai

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