So the madness that December usually brings seems to have started a little early although I’m not sure whether that’s because I was on a mission last Wednesday to get as much of my Christmas shopping done as possible in one hit. It was mildly successful in fact so I’m slightly relieved on that part although my purse isn’t…pros and cons I guess. That’s not to say that it wasn’t stressful though, my bro and I went into Westfield with a military style plan of precision (I don’t do wind0w-shopping) but the dawdlers threatened to over-haul the entire operation with their dilly-dallying and indecisiveness at the tills. For obvious reasons I can’t tell you what we bought on our little trip, although I did manage to send an email about my Mum’s Christmas present to my Mum (sorry!) so always check before you send ha! Perhaps I’ll do a little Survival Guide to Christmas Shopping as a future post.
How are you guys getting on with yours? Are you super-organised or a last-minute chancer?
In the spirit of this title’s post, I’ve of course, gotta tell you all about the eagerly-anticipated Stereophonics gig at the O2 arena on Thursday night. I think I’ll stay 23 forever, I haven’t found any cool song lyrics with 24 in them yet…send them my way please if you know of any.
I feel like I had had the tickets for aaaaaages, (think we bought them in like February?!) so I was so excited to be seeing a band that have been on my Gig Bucket-list for yeaaaaaars! I think I’ve tried on more than three occasions to try and see the Welsh rock band so I’m really happy that I got to experience them live at last. Aaaaaand they didn’t disappoint!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr Kelly Jones & co (erm…hello he’s gorgeous and he’s welsh!) they formed way back in the early nineties before their debut album Word Gets Around hit the UK Top 10 in 1997 and their single “Local Boy in the Photograph” became one of the first of many that put them on the map for global success. Their second album in 1999 features crowd-favourites such as “Bartender & the Thief,” “Pick a Part that’s New,” and “I’m just Looking,” and in that same year, they went on to play a tour that spanned Europe, the US and Australia.
Since then, they’ve released a further SIX albums, had a couple of member line-up changes, headlined at most of the UK & Ireland’s major festivals and are all married with families. They’ve also won awards from the Brits, NME, MTV, Q and Kerrang magazines as well as collaborated with Tom Jones and recorded a version of the Faces’ Handbags & Gladrags. Their latest album Graffiti on the Train peaked at Number 3 in the UK Albums Chart and as Kelly revealed last night at the gig, their ninth record is due to be released next year.
I think I have my Dad to thank for getting me into the Stereophonics, we always joke that although we don’t agree on most things, our music taste is second to none haha! I was gutted that my parents couldn’t join me for the gig because I have such good childhood/adolescent memories of their albums blaring in our house and everyone singing along. I recorded a couple of videos on my phone and called them during one of their songs, I’ve forgotten which one though ha!
I was slightly worried that they’d play more of their newer stuff than their old favourites but both my friend Amy and I screamed our heads off when Kelly announced, “Alright guys, let’s go back to 1997…” and amused us with anecdotes in-between songs about his mother putting the phone down on Richard Branson before they got signed and writing “Have a Nice Day,” in San Francisco. Highlights for me included “Maybe Tomorrow,” “I wouldn’t Believe your Radio,” “Mr Writer,” the raucous “Bartender & the Thief,” Kelly performing “Handbags & Gladrags” on the piano and finishing their set with an extended version of “Dakota,” complete with streamers and fireworks!
The band have received a lot of critical reviews in their time for Kelly’s raspy vocals and inner band conflicts with former drummer Stuart Cable, who died in 2010 after a heavy drinking session (R.I.P) but the one thing that the press should not fault them for, is their showmanship. They’re talented musicians, who exude a confident stage presence, but remain grounded and humble to their rural roots.
Last night marked their 75th and last gig of their Graffiti on the Train tour but as Kelly promised, another album is due for release next year. If they’re on your Gig bucket-list too, get up early on the day of release, open as many windows as you can and refresh the page like a crazy person, you don’t want to miss them! I’m still slightly bitter about missing out on Arcade Fire’s one-off show at Earls Court in June but you win some, you lose some.
The rest of this weekend is pretty mad too, I had a 21st birthday party last night, another birthday outing this evening (people need to stop getting older) so I’ll be glad of a lazy day tomorrow if I’m honest! Work is pretty hectic at the moment too and I’m in bed by 10.30pm most nights. I’ve got a few little projects that I’m working on at the moment but all will be revealed at a later date.
I leave you with one of my favourite Stereophonics songs…