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There were two shocks in store for fans at the Stereophonics gig at Edinburgh Castle earlier this week – the band began their set at 8.30pm prompt and there was strictly no alcohol served for the duration of the gig.
“If anyone’s still in the pub, you better hurry up!” announced frontman Kelly Jones, before opening with C’est La Vie and I Wanna’ Get Lost With You. The song choices made for a strikingly slow start and those still making their way up the Royal Mile didn’t miss much – the majority of the crowd participated only when explicitly prompted to do so, whilst others were more concerned about complaining about the lack of drinking options than concentrating on what was happening onstage.
Luckily, the atmosphere changed drastically as soon as the band launched into material from their nineties heyday, powering through an impressive amount of nostalgic, crowd-pleasing hits including Local Boy In The Photograph, Mr Writer and Just Looking. As the opening chords to the anthemic A Thousand Trees rang out, the crowd began bouncing in unison and all was quickly forgiven.
Whilst the audience had clearly come to hear nothing but the hits, the upbeat sound of Mr and Mrs Smith from the band’s latest album (Keep The Village Alive) showed true promise, whilst the sheer amount of kids in attendance suggested the ‘Phonics are still managing to draw in new listeners, more than two decades after they first formed.
The band’s biggest allure has always been Kelly Jones’ distinctive, raspy vocals and he was in fine voice throughout. A stripped-down, acoustic rendition of Traffic gave him the chance to prove that he really does have one of the best voices in modern rock music, whilst Been Caught Cheating was nothing less than a bluesy treat for the ears.
Accessible rock at its finest.
Words: Amy Anderson