Last year saw Welsh rockers, Stereophonics release their eleventh studio album, ‘Kind’ on Parlophone Records. Following on from 2017’s ‘Scream Above the Sounds’, the album was recorded live to tape and signifies some of the band’s best work to date. In support of ‘Kind’, the band confirmed a tour of the UK and mainland Europe; including two homecoming dates at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. Though the excitement doesn’t end there and we were lucky to catch the band at one of their two intimate warm up shows last weekend, which took place at Liverpool’s Mountford Hall and Leeds’ O2 Academy.
Part of Liverpool University, Mountford Hall has a capacity of 2300 and is a splendidly intimate venue to see an arena band such as Stereophonics in. The band kicked off proceedings with the swaggering ‘Catacomb’ from 2013’s ‘Graffiti on the Train’ before launching into crowd favourite, ‘Superman’. The infectiously catchy ‘I Wanna Get Lost With You’ followed, receiving a reception worthy of an encore and confirming that the crowd were certainly on form.
Having said that, it was Liverpool on a Saturday night and nothing could be done about the flurry of people chatting and making trips to the bar during somewhat of a lull in the set – though the band were nothing short of spectacular throughout, slower tracks including ‘Boy On A Bike’ and ‘Make Friends With The Morning’ didn’t appear to captivate the crowd and it wasn’t until the timeless ‘Indian Summer’ – featuring gushing guitar work from front man, Kelly Jones and guitarist, Adam Zindani – that the crowd became focused again.
It’s 23 years since the band released their debut album, ‘Word Gets Around’ and the founding members – Kelly and bassist, Richard Jones – are both more polished than ever. The emotion behind Kelly’s vocals during both ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ and ‘Hungover For you’ in particular was goose bump worthy and let’s not forget the rest of the band as failing to mention drummer Jamie Morrison’s epic finale to ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ would be unforgivable! Jamie’s the driving beat of the band and it was a treat and a half for fans to be able to watch him at work up close and personal.
The last segment of the evening saw the pace picked up a notch as the crowd were treated to back to back hits; including the anthemic ‘Have a Nice Day’, ‘Mr Writer’, ‘Just Looking’, ‘Local Boy in the Photograph’, ‘The Bartender and the Thief’, ‘C’est La Vie’ and last but not least, the explosive ‘Dakota’. Clocking in a set time of 2 hours, Stereophonics proved that they’re still as relevant today as when they formed in the early 90’s and it was nothing short of a pleasure to see them in such an intimate venue.