Gig review: Stereophonics, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

AS THE enduring popularity of the new TFI Friday shows, 1990s revivalism is very much one of the flavours of the year in 2015.

Stereophonics know how to give the public what they want. Picture: Calum Buchan
Stereophonics know how to give the public what they want. Picture: Calum Buchan

The Stereophonics

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Rating: ***

It’s an occurrence which hasn’t necessarily had any effect on Welsh rockers the Stereophonics, given that their albums have sold in great numbers ever since they broke through in 1997, but they’ve still enjoyed a healthy dose of revitalising lately.

Earlier this year their ninth album Keep the Village Alive became their first to hit number one in the UK since 2007, and this latest tour date showcased a live act in rude health.

As ever they proved to be one of those groups who know how to give their public what they want, and it’s a very narrow-ranging experience. Kelly Jones’ lyricism has never progressed far beyond the post-Oasis vogue for saying nothing but saying it like you mean it, and the dreamily absent-minded Have a Nice Day, the sulky Mr Writer and the earthy nonsense of The Bartender and the Thief (complete with an atypically limp burst of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades) demonstrated a trend which continues into amiable new tracks like Sunny and Mr and Mrs Smith.

In a heaving, strobe-flared concert hall, though, the easy trick of turning the volume up on a fistful of infectious pop choruses is always an open goal, and the quartet’s finest moments – A Thousand Trees, Local Boy in the Photograph, Dakota – were deservedly received in feverish style.

There was a diversion into gruff blues with Been Caught Stealing and solo acoustica from Jones (who filmed the audience wishing “happy birthday” to his friend, the Fife actor Dougray Scott) with Liberty and Traffic, but they served largely as breath-catchers before the onslaught continued.

Seen 28.11.15