“Welsh Kings Of Indie Rock”
Formed in 1992 in the village of Cwmaman in the Cynon Valley, Mid Glamorgan, Wales, the band consists of Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, Adam Zindani and James Morrison. They have released 11 studio albums, which include 6 UK number ones. These guys are not just Welsh music legends, but British music legends.
The Mountford Hall, Liverpool Guild of Students was sold out and packed to the rafters for tonight’s show. This was billed as an intimate gig for the Phonics; a warm-up gig for bigger shows and a bigger tour to come later in the year. I know 2,500 people does not seem very intimate, but for a band who sell out stadiums, this is as intimate as it gets these days. With that said, I was thinking the cheers and shouts would be stadium-sized when the band walked onto the stage!!!
But first, it was time for Nadia Sheikh, a half English, half Spanish singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, now residing in London. Nadia plays her own brand of dirty indie, reminiscent in parts of Hole and Veruca Salt with overtones of Wolf Alice. Nadia’s set was punchy and catchy and the Stereophonics crowd took to it like a duck to water. The new single “Get Away” was a stand out track, a grunge-inspired, indie banger. The girl’s got talent and a great voice so don’t be surprised if she becomes more and more talked about as the year goes on. “Coming to a radio station near you soon”!!!
Then guess what? The stage went dark and The Stereophonics walk on, and I’d like to say the crowd erupted with shouts and cheers and whistles, but in reality, they didn’t. There were shouts and cheers of course but I expected more. Kicking off with “Catacomb” from 2013 album “Graffiti On A Train” and then “Superman” from 2005 album “Language. Sex. Violence. Other?” and the crowd seemed to wake up, the shouts and cheers were getting louder and we started to feel the love. Tonight’s set was a mixture of classic Phonics, new Phonics and all the Phonics in between. Some of the tracks from the new album were a little lost on a percentage of the audience but they seemed to enjoy them none the less. The newer material does a job but it’s the hits from the band’s first five records that the 2,500 people gathered here tonight are waiting for. And they are not disappointed as the band roll them out “I Wanna Get Lost With You”, “Maybe Tomorrow”, “Have A Nice Day”, “Mr Writer”, “Just Looking”, “Local Boy In The Photograph”, “The Bartender and the Thief”, and “Dakota” bring the house down, and you can just about hear Kelly’s voice as the crowd sing along at the top of their collective voices and it’s awesome!
I am a Stereophonics fan. They are a great band; they have written some of the greatest Indie Rock tunes of the last 30 years, and Kelly Jones’ voice is unrivalled. And live, they are tight and on point at all times; Kelly Jones has an effortless charm that just sucks you in. Add in the size of the venue, mixed with the love from the adoring crowd, a feeling of intimacy between the band and their fans built up over the evening- a very beautiful thing to behold.
But with that said Mountford Hall was so packed it looked to me like at least a 1/3 of the crowd couldn’t see the band at all, with people standing on tables and chairs just to try to get a view of their heroes, which in my humble opinion is a total rip. A live concert is a visual thing, otherwise why not stay at home and just put the record on the turntable? I felt very sorry for those people who had paid good money to see nothing.
But the night seemed to fly by, and as the night ends, it is reaffirmed how much this band is loved and how good they are. Long live the Phonics.
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY – DESH KAPUR
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/stereophonics/
Website – https://stereophonics.com/
“Bartender And The Thief”
“Local Boy In The Photograph”