There can be few voices in rock as distinctive as the gravelly tones of Kelly Jones.
Also, few bands, that 20 years after forming, can still sell out an arena with ease – but such is the might of Stereophonics.
I’ve seen the band live countless times and they never fail to bring top musicianship and a passion for their craft to the stage.
This is a band totally at ease playing to the masses. With two decades, eight albums and a seemingly swelling numbers of fans under their belt, why wouldn’t they be?
Though the band has their knockers – some see them as the purveyors of “comfortable” rock – it doesn’t make them any less entertaining.
Kelly Jones is as charismatic as they come, punctuating the songs with anecdotes of discovering treble vodkas and Red Bull in Newcastle many moons ago, and encouraging the crowd to do Mexican waves for his camera phone – all delivered of course with his rich Welsh lilt.
Tracks from latest album Graffiti on the Train, including the title track and Indian Summer, went down well with the crowd, but there was also plenty of old “skool” songs to please the ‘Phonics faithful.
Anthemic tracks Maybe Tomorrow and Mr Writer had them swaying in the aisles and sounded as fresh today as they did when they were first released more than 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, Handbags and Gladrags and The Bartender and the Thief provided a grittier edge that showed off Jones’ inimitable voice to a tee.
The hits came thick and fast – it’s easy to forget just how many tracks the band has released over the years – but each was greeted by the crowd like an old friend.
Despite a blistering back catalogue, the band has only had one Number 1 single, Dakota, which had thousands jumping in euphoric unison for the finale.