Cymru am byth. My people hearken from Wales way back, and although I have not been there (yet), something inside compels me to listen to the Stereophonics, arguably Wales’ best-known export of recent years (not counting Tom Jones, whose tan kind of scares me).
Stereophonics formed in 1992, with the three original members (Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, and Stuart Cable) growing up together in the small Welsh village of Cwmaman. They were originally known as Tragic Love Company, a name inspired by three of their favorite bands Tragically Hip, Mother Love Bone and Bad Company (that is awesome). One of the first groups signed to Richard Branson’s fledgling V2 Records label, the Stereophonics have released five studio albums in the last 10 years, with the four most recent all going to the top of the UK charts, including their first #1 single – “Dakota” – off their 2005 release Language. Sex. Violence. Other?.
The gravelly-voiced melodic rockers are coming out with a new live album on April 21 called Live From Dakota. The 2-disc set will feature:
1. Superman 2. Doorman 3. A Thousand Trees 4. Devil 5. Mr Writer 6. Pedalpusher 7. Deadhead 8. Maybe Tomorrow 9. The Bartender and the Thief 10. Local Boy in the Photograph
1. Hurry Up and Wait 2. Madame Helga 3. Vegas Two Times 4. Carrot Cake and Wine 5. I’m Alright (You Gotta Go There To Come Back) 6. Jayne 7. Too Many Sandwiches 8. Traffic 9. Just Looking 10. Dakota
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as comfortable onstage as I have done recently,” says frontman Kelly Jones (on their MySpace page). “We’ve got a lot more confidence than we’ve ever had before too. Getting back to playing as a three piece onstage â€“ as opposed to having extra musicians there â€“ has really worked, it’s what we were originally and we feel stronger for going back to it. We’ve been really fucking energized too.”
“We’ve got that raw feel back too,” adds bassist Richard Jones. “Even just when we were rehearsing it felt really energetic, gritty and in-your-face. As soon as we started playing with [new drummer] Javier [Weyler] it felt so natural. We felt like a unit onstage â€“ it was like the old gang mentality. It was just the three of us and we knew we all had to pull together. The shows last year were among the best we’ve ever played. The energy and excitement was similar to when we first started playing big shows. We have the same fire burning in our chests now as we did then.”
Kelly adds, “We wanted to do a live album because it feels like a celebration of the year we’ve had and also of the ten years that this band has been going. It is hard to re-create the buzz of being at a gig — when you’re out, you’re tanked up and having a good time with your mates. Hopefully this is as close to being at one of our gigs as you can get.”
For a little preview of their blistering live vibe in recent days, here is the urgent & rocking 4-song set they did at the Live 8 concert in London (July 2, 2005, pictured above):