Stereophonics performing their Keep The Summer Alive Tour at The Motorpoint Arena on Thursday 2nd June 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

There are a few bands that have split critics and fans over the last two decades to the same degree as the Stereophonics, and yet fans still clamour to see this Cwmaman Band, as last night was no exception as the Motorpoint Arena was packed to the rafters.

Flanked by bassist Richard Jones, guitarist Adam Zindani and backed by drummer Jamie Morrison, Kelly Jones wasted little time on pleasantries. Opening with C’est La Vie from their latest album Keep The Village Alive, the ever youthful Jones set the tone for what was to be a glorious sentimental night.

The equally great I Wanna Get Lost With You, also from the album, had every female in the audience mesmerised with Jones’ distinctive raspy vocals and Welsh drawl wasting over them.

There was also a wealth of Jones penned classics; Just Looking, Local Boy In The Photograph and Superman, all of which have been firmly established as key features in the great British pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll.

There were plenty of nods to the Stereophonics’ iconic 1997 album, World Gets Around, with outings for the hugely popular A Thousand Trees and More Life In A Tramp’s Vest, as well as a thrilling mass singalong to Pick A Part That’s New.

The Stereophonics are a band that know their product and play it with technical excellence. Jones’ trademark voice, gravelly, melodic and melancholy, stands out and keeps an appreciative audience, singing, clapping, and swaying along. His remarkable voice on his solo acoustic version of Traffic was simply breath-taking, showing that it still has the ability to draw you in.

The Welsh rock icons also slowed things down with a vocally perfect Maybe Tomorrow before delivering a subliminal version of writer Mike D’Abo’s Handbags And The Gladrags, which he maintains is the best version he has ever heard.

Bringing a two hour set to a musical lap of honour with White Lies and Dakota which is as excellent now as it was on release, this happy crowd had to say goodbye to an evening which had been pure entertainment from the off.

Overall, there is no doubt that after twenty years the Stereophonics know how to lay on a crowd pleasing show. And that is something on which there can be no disagreement.