photo from Stereophonic.com
The Stereophonics were genuinely chuffed at the response they got from the Chicago audience. Another band that headlines festivals in Europe but gets little to no airplay here in the states. The Vic wasn’t sold out but it was full of diehard fans. Many Welsh ex-pats that carry the pride of Sterophonics like their homeland flag.
In all honesty some of the between song banter, for which there wasn’t much, was a bit hard to decipher. But the songs were easy to understand and easier even still to sing along with. Kelly Jones packs a lot of power into his God-given frame. His voice the sandpaper quality. His guitar the extra crunchy. His favorite band AC/DC. In the same vein as AC/DC, Stereophonics for the most part have the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it attitude to their catalog. One thing that sets the two bands apart is that Stereophonics will sneak a ballad in on you, something that AC/DC would never think of. In fact, their brit-pop ballads are what keep the audiences large, that and the fact that they can throw an Oasis-sittin- next- to -your- buddies- on- the- train- sing- along at you.
They have been doing this for many years but the new album released on their own Stylus Records, Graffiti on the Train , their eighth is fantastic. There are the great ballads (Indian Summer) with the great anthems (We Share the Same Sun) all brought out to play at The Vic Saturday night. What stuck out to me was the live birth of new songs (Violins and Tambourines, In a Moment) which bring the band into arch-nemesis territory. Radiohead territory. Yes, there are definite touches of Radiohead in “Violins and Tambourines” and “In a Moment.” “Been Caught Cheating” fit in perfectly for the Chicago crowd, it being the birth of the blues. A wonderful bluesy song that Mr. Jones wrote for Amy Winehouse and her unfortunate choices in dating partners. Sadly she didn’t live to hear it.
Kelly does have a decent band out with him. Most notable the drummer, who at first glance, mustachioed and frizzed hair, might cause you to chuckle. But the way he hits the drums like a monster is not laughing matter. Bassist, Richard Jones, tried his best to look and play like Paul Simonon and who can fault a bassist for that. When not thumping the bass, he urged the crowd to start hand clapping which fit in well with many of the anthems and got the crowd interactive.
The sing along with the crowd and Kelly with his acoustic was beautiful as stated by the singer at the end of “Maybe Tomorrow.” That song still amazes me at the amount of soul they emit. We all left the Vic pondering the math of matches and trees. A night well spent. A great album to still enjoy and grow with.
Stereophonics Set LIst, The Vic, Chicago, IL 9/29/2013
Local Boy in a Photograph
Graffiti on the Train
We Share The Same Sun
Have a Nice Day
Live n Love
Vegas Two Times
In A Moment
Nothing Precious at All
Roll the Dice
Violins and Tambourines
Been Caught Cheating
The Bartender and the Thief
Bill Davey’s Daughter
I Stopped to Fill My Car Up
A Thousand Trees
The encore was a bit weird and I am seeing this with a lot of bands lately. The band rocks out and rocks off the stage. The crowd erupts in cheer. They are screaming to have their band back out. The band comes out with a whisper. A one man ballad. Soft as can be. Only to build back up, but why the lull? The band’s in the toilet practicing their lines. The ballads should stick to the main set. Encore all rock. I would love to draw out a set list for any band needing help in this area.
Great Show! Thanks to The Stereophonics for coming to Chicago on a Saturday night.
A CROWD FAVORITE thanks to MESH616 on Youtube