Stereophonics. Newcastle Arena. 9.3.20

There’s something about his style and the intensity of his performance that makes Kelly Jones the British Billy Joe Armstrong.  Both passionate performers, and both creatively restless, you get the sense that both songwriters are the beating heart of their bands; determined to raise their bands to higher and higher heights.  Hugely praiseworthy but somewhat difficult if either have an off, or even an average, night.

Flying high tonight, particularly at the extremes of the Phonic’s output (this evenings particularly spiky ‘Mr Writer’ and ‘Thousand Trees’), Jones and the Stereo’s can’t quite catch fire all evening (‘Superman’ fails to take off, ‘Graffiti on the train’ meanders in places and even ‘Local boy’ never fully gets going).  Aided by a relatively lacklustre crowd, the evening ends up with moments of extreme intensity (the Jones aided guitar playout on ‘Sunny’) and missed opportunities (‘Bartender’ missing its raw edge).

When the crowd and the band were both on it, tonight flew high; it’s just a shame that neither were all night.

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