In a carefully lit BBC Radio Theatre, audience members arrive bit by bit.
To have Stereophonics playing a central London venue on a Friday night, and Kind – the band’s brand new album release – reaching the number one spot in the charts makes it a special night with more than good reason to celebrate.
Surely, achieving great things must feel like familiar territory for the Welsh rockers by now; reaching a number one chart position is a regular occurrence, just like being part of mainstream music is. The last decade has seen them take critical and commercial success to new heights.
Their Radio 2 In Concert this evening (Nov 1st) is a live broadcast. Introduced by Fearne Cotton there is anticipation, fan-like enthusiasm and excitement in the air.
Stereophonics may well have been around for twenty-two years, but that does not make a concert like this less exciting, it’s almost the reverse. Polished, structured and very well-rehearsed, the intimate set is a joy from start to finish.
They commence the show with C’est La Vie, I Wanna Get Lost With You and, from the new album, there is Bust This Town and Don’t Let the Devil Take Another Day, ensuring energy and optimism is in check. But within a matter of seconds, the crowd chants along and sing the lyrics back, and it continues throughout.
Naturally, classic Stereophonics tracks such as Have A Nice Day, Mr And Mrs Smith, Geronimo and Dakota are clear set-winning tracks, but it is fascinating to see how the new gospel inspired hymn Make Friends With The Morning becomes an instant overnight classic. Initiating the track delivery solely on an acoustic guitar, it builds before becoming a song full of of nuance and layers. With everyone clapping and singing, participation levels are high, and the five backing singers support the gospel sound and make sure rich vocals are delivered with precision.
Frontman Kelly Jones talks about Mr Writer, describing it as a song about a relationship between two people. He makes a joke about it taking a while to write and even longer to try and explain the meaning behind when prompted. The slower pace of the track, combined with the melancholy textures, adds a different vibe to the set.
Stereophonics represent popular music and rock at its very best. The two do not always go well together, but Stereophonics make sure they meld and become one.
It is not an easy thing to achieve, but in this instance it works a fine treat.