Stereophonics bring sound of summer to winter’s night

Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones.
Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones.

Live review: Stereophonics at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

Wintry storms might have given the country a battering at the weekend, but Stereophonics were in an unseasonably summery mood at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena last night.

The Welsh rockers’ two-hour set included not only Indian Summer and Song for the Summer but Sunny too despite the temperature being a chilly 4C outside.

The latter two were among six tracks from the band’s new album, Keep the Village Alive, a No 1 in September, to make their 24-song setlist, along with five from its predecessor, 2013’s Graffiti on the Train.

The other tunes from the new LP, their ninth, to be given an outing were set opener C’est La Vie and the next song up, I Wanna Get Lost With You, followed later on by White Lies and album closer Mr and Mrs Smith.

White Lies was preceded by a request by frontman Kelly Jones for the packed crowd to hold their mobile phones in the air with their torches on in imitation of the holding of lighters aloft that used to accompany power ballads back in the day, apparently for use in a video to be released next month.

Mr and Mrs Smith, one of the highlights of the last album, was introduced by a Jeremy Kyle-like query from Jones as to whether anyone present had ever, or was currently, conducting an affair in hotels, potentially leaving any of the large number replying in the affirmative with some explaining to do once the video for White Lies hits YouTube in 2016.

Jones, 41, was in characteristic cheeky chappie mode throughout, recounting anecdotes from previous visits to Newcastle, and had the audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish, the finish being a four-song encore made up of a rousing run through The Bartender and the Thief including a reference to Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio, Maybe Tomorrow and Dakota, their only No 1 single to date.

Other old favourites played included A Thousand Trees, Just Looking, Traffic and Local Boy in the Photograph, as well as their take on Mike d’Abo’s Handbags and Gladrags, a No 3 for them in 2001.

Have a Nice Day was also trotted out, and all present certainly had a nice night as Jones and his bandmates, now having almost a quarter of a century’s experience to draw upon, certainly know what they’re doing and are well versed in how to structure a set and work a crowd, and they ticked both of those boxes with so much good humour and obvious enjoyment in what they’re doing that it never once looked anything like a box-ticking exercise.