Music Editor, Dylan Bryant, reviews Stereophonics at Brighton Centre, 26th March 2022

As this is the eighth time I’ve seen Stereophonics, I think I’ve secured super-fan status.

I remember my Dad taking me to see them in Wales for the first time at the Cardiff City Stadium in 2010. I was 9 years old and felt like the coolest kid in school going to a ‘proper rock’ concert. Although, any coolness I had was quickly lost when I went to see Jedward at the O2 with my sister and her friend a week later.

My excitement seeing them in Brighton was no different to 12 years ago and I felt extremely privileged to have a front row seat to see the Welsh rock legends. 

The band entered the stage to an atmospheric prelude of ‘Do Ya Feel My Love?’- A personal favourite from their recent number 1 album ‘Oochya!’, before launching into the polished track which has a classic stereophonics-esque sound. 

Stereophonics have undoubtably ‘still got it’. Whilst many of their Britpop counterparts have lost their infectious edge, Stereophonics are as tight as ever and Kelly Jones rip-roaring vocals were immaculate.  Not long after the crowd were going wild as the band performed their hits such as ‘C’est La Vie’ and ‘Geronimo’, the night took on an emotional turn as the band dedicated their next song to drumming legend Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. The feeling was all too real for Kelly Jones and the band who tragically lost their drummer Stuart Cable in similar circumstances in 2010, just two days after I had seen them perform. “We all woke up to some sad news today. We’ve been in that position where we’ve lost a band member. We met Taylor a few times, had a few drinks with him, rocked out to Queen with him. We would like to dedicate this song to the band and the family.”

Following this tribute, the band then played a slower take on the foo fighters anthem ‘Best of You’ which silenced the crowd and many fans were in tears.

Stereophonics continued the night with a catalogue of hits which highlighted Kelly Jones ability and talent as a song writer. He had the crowd transfixed as they played ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ – One of their most popular tracks and phone lights were waved as the crowd belted out every lyric.

Whilst songs such as ‘Have A Nice Day’ and ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ provided catchy and infectious feelgood moments, the band weren’t afraid to also rock out on ‘Mr Writer’ and ‘The Bartender and the Thief’ where Kelly Jones cleverly weaved  in the chorus of Motörhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’.

I left the gig thinking that Stereophonics might just be the best live rock band ever. This thought was cemented in an encounter with a slightly drunken lifelong fan who told me – “We’re so lucky to be here. The phonics’ are the best live band out there. I’ve seen The Rolling Stones, The Who, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd – you name it, but these guys are the best.”

It was no surprise when the band ended with their biggest hit and number 1 single ‘Dakota’ and the Brighton centre erupted and screamed out the lyrics “you make me feel like the one” which was the perfect final track to an incredible evening. As the crowd flooded out onto the streets in high spirits, a busker took over from the band and continued to play their hits to the many fans who weren’t quite ready for the night to end.

Stereophonics are still in their prime, and I have no doubt that they’ll be releasing number 1 albums and touring arenas for years to come.

Setlist:

  1. Do Ya Feel My Love
  2. C’est la vie
  3. I Wanna Get Lost With You
  4. Best of You (Dedicated to Taylor Hawkins)
  5. Maybe Tomorrow
  6. Geronimo
  7. Hanging On Your Hinges
  8. Right Place Right Time
  9. Fly Like an Eagle
  10. All I Have Is You
  11. Leave the Light On / Show Me How snippet
  12. Graffiti on the Train
  13. Mr and Mrs Smith
  14. Traffic
  15. A Thousand Trees
  16. Billy Davey’s Daughter
  17. Mr Writer
  18. Running Round My Brain
  19. Indian Summer
  20. Have a Nice Day
  21. Handbags and Gladrags
  22. The Bartender and the Thief
  23. Just Looking
  24. Make Friends With the Morning
  25. Dakota
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