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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stereophonics at The Metro

Following my interview with Stereophonics, I took in one of their gigs in Sydney:













STEREOPHONICS
BRITISH INDIA
The Metro, Sydney
05/05/08


It was a case of trying to spot the Australian in the crowd for the first of two sold-out shows at The Metro, as it seemed the overwhelming majority of people that descended on George Street were British [including this reviewer]. Due to early doors, many punters were either still on their way to the venue or clambering for booze at the bar while Melbourne lads British India played, which was a shame because their short set was powerful and impressive.

While travelling half way round the globe to play to a room filled with people from your homeland seems like defeating the point, Stereophonics revelled in the rapturous reception they received as they sauntered onto stage. With singer Kelly Jones looking quite the clich├ęd rock frontman in a leather jacket and aviator sunglasses, the Welshmen punctuated what was essentially a greatest hits set with a handful of tracks from their new long-player, Pull The Pin.

With six big selling albums to select tunes from, their performance was always going to provoke something of a singalong, with second track A Thousand Trees sparking the first major audience participation of the night. The first low point though came with the arrival of the rather sour Mr Writer, with Jones grumbling: “Why don’t you tell it like it really is?” Well, okay - while upbeat numbers like The Bartender and the Thief perfectly suit his distinctive sandpaper vocal, slower songs such as this turn it into a horrible, lifeless drone. Other weak moments included the limp You Could Have It All, and even the most enthusiastic fan must have struggled to remain engaged during Hurry Up and Wait which, fittingly, seemed to last forever.












Conversely, More Life in a Tramp’s Vest and Local Boy in the Photograph were riotous romps that proved Stereophonics’ real strength lies in their punchy, aggressive rock tunes. While one might expect such energy from tracks written when the band were young whippersnappers, pleasingly, offerings from their new album displayed similar urgency and vibrancy.

Ending the night with the delicious Dakota [which meant we were thankfully spared their painfully lacklustre cover version of Handbags and Gladrags] the Brits left the stage to a massive ovation, suggesting that the many backpackers in the crowd were happy with their decision to spend about three weeks’worth of food budget on a ticket.

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