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Stereophonics from Europe to the USA

The Vic – Chicago, IL, USA – September 28, 2013

Review by Jenafur Schlangen, photo by Dan Locke

StereophonicsWhen I found out Stereophonics was coming to Chicago, I practically sprung out of my chair and straight into a colleague of mine....who by the way was carrying three full and hot cups of hipster brand coffee. (*Oops.) But, I was SO excited!! I mean, who wouldn't be?! -- It's Stereophonics! -- They are A-M-A-Z-E-B-A-L-L-S!

Here in lays the problem: Hardly anyone in the USA has ever really heard of this 3-piece Welsh band Stereophonics, yet they have been around since the early 1990's. Why? It seemed strange to me that during the past several years, almost every single time I get a chance to mention something about this band, "Stereophonics", I am usually met with a blank stare. Why? Why is it that I can watch a gazillion Europeans sing along with this band at one of their live shows, such as the one seen here: YouTube but can then go to the Metro in Chicago and see them and...MAYBE 100 people show up? WHY? It certainly cannot be just because they are from overseas. I mean, there are loads of bands from overseas that we all know and love. Why not this one?

Side Note: I am about to get seriously real and really serious for a moment...something that I rarely do when sitting down to recall time very well spent and enjoyed in front of a stage, blaring melodies of goodness seeping through my ears and into my brain but, fuck it – here it goes: Now, I could go on and on (and ON) about how painful the press request process was in order to cover this band, but I won't. However, at the end of the day, I most definitely questioned whether I would have even been granted "official" access to cover this Stereophonics performance had I not been such a determined little bugger about it. So I ask myself, does any of this have to do with the lack of promotion, the lack of advertisement, the lack of airplay that Stereophonics receives in the USA? That being said, I will not waste my (or your) time blathering about such a horrible and unfortunate "montrocity" (See UrbanDictionary.com). The answers seem obvious.

The lights at the Vic in Chicago went dark and out of nowhere, guitar riffs were loud and in your face. "Catacomb," a song of their latest album, "Graffiti on the Train," begins and commands the stage with a vengeance. The song was a perfect opener because the guitar riffs that lead into Kelly Jones's vocals are an aggressive burst of energy. This is only a prelude as to what is to come from this band. Other songs performed were "Local Boy in the Photograph," "Superman," "Graffiti on the Train," and "Have a Nice Day," before touching on their bigger hits like, "Mr. Writer" and "Maybe Tomorrow." My personal favorite was and is "A Thousand Trees," a song about how it "only takes one tree to make 1000 matches [and it] only takes one match to burn a 1000 trees."

StereophonicsOf course, the band finished up their brief American tour and are back to touring in Europe at this time.

In closing, I must apologize for having spent only a few words describing the actual live performance by Stereophonics. However, if the questions I pose within this writing and [hopefully] the excitement I was able to convey forces you to look further into this band, then all is well with the world.