St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Sat 8 June
Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones is on a solo tour for only the third time in his life, and the Cardiff date at least feels like a very informal gig: moreso early on when a man that happened to be Kelly Jones just walked across the stage to introduce the support act. This caught us all off guard. Said support act, Texas duo The Wind + The Wave, provided some 40 minutes of vocal/guitar excellence veering between angelic and loud.
Every single seat was taken. Every one. So when Jones later takes the stage in earnest, a hush descends so as to hear his opening words. His band comprises violinist Fiona Brice, multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, guitar, piano and many more) local lad Gavin Fitzjohn, while Cherisse Osei brings up the rear with the drums section.
Notwithstanding Jones playing some of the Stereophonics’ greatest hits, this gig was a stripped-back affair – at times just him and Fitzjohn, both only on ukulele. All the favourites were there, especially for the encore: Traffic, Step On My Old Size Nines, Maybe Tomorrow and Dakota closing the show, with everybody close to the stage like you would expect at any large stadium gig. Other songs rolled out, though, are seldom plucked from the Stereophonics’ back catalogue; his solo album Only The Names Have Been Changed is explored, and a few cover versions were even thrown in.
We were also given a rendition of Before Anyone Knew Our Name, a song from 2017’s Scream Above The Sounds dedicated to Stuart Cable – beautifully done, and with a funny anecdote about Stuart at the 2003 Rolling Stones gig thrown in too! What all these songs have in common is that they mean something to Kelly Jones, and on such a personal level: outpourings of feelings and emotions. It was a privilege to be in his company, and his voice isn’t too bad either…
words CARL MARSH photos GARETH GRIFFITHS