Saturday March 9th 2013, The Olympia Theatre, Dublin.
It seems like a long time has passed since we first heard the Stereophonics early albums 'Word Gets Around' and 'Performance And Cocktails'. Six more studio albums followed, including a Kelly Jones solo album along the way, all of which gained varying degrees of critical and commercial success. But it appears that The Stereophonics long-time fans have come here to the intimate setting of the Olympia to see them perform. On this occasion however, intimate becomes too close for comfort, as the venue is jammed and the ceiling feels somehow lower then it once was. The mild claustrophobic feelings disappear when Kelly and the boys take to the stage just before 9pm.
The track list is a sort of pick and mix of the songs spanning both the back catalogue and the new record. There's a nostalgia as they kick off with 1999's 'Bartender and the Thief'. They continue with early tracks 'A Thousand Trees' which is a clear crowd favourite, and front man Kelly Jones greets the audience with "How are you doing Dublin, nice to see you". The mood shifts with 'Superman'. Its darker atmosphere showcases Jones' vocal chops and is an opportunity for him to display his ability at a proper rock star guitar solo. "We had fun making the new record" he says before launching into a cluster of new tracks including 'Graffiti On The Train', 'Catacomb' and the latest single 'Indian Summer'.
The new tracks are well received but it is clear that the crowd are unfamiliar and there's a sense, as with all gigs, the crowd are waiting for songs that they know. 'Mr Writer' pulls the crowd back in as Kelly is barely visable surrounded by a dusty blue light as his gravelled tones snarle the words "Mr Writer, why don't you tell it like it is". 'Maybe Tomorrow' comes next and is a highlight as the venue chants the chorus along with the band. The atmosphere dips slightly with 'Been Caught Cheating'. Although the performance is flawless, the sudden shift to a blues number catches the crowd off guard. The constant switching from old to new material at times makes the set list seem disjointed especially during 'Violins And Tambourines' which was lost within the audiences low chattering murmurs.
Thankfully the crowd come home again with their old favourites 'Just Looking', and the annoyingly catchy 'Have A Nice Day'. Newbie's 'We Share The Same Sun' and the grungy distortion of 'Roll The Dice' are thrown into the mix and work well, but it is the classics 'Traffic' and the brilliant 'Dakota' that bring the night to a close. Before departing the stage, Jones thanks the audience "for the support over the last 20 years", as the audience trickle out of the venue they seem just as grateful to the band for such a rewarding night of live music.
Review by Karen Lawler