Continuing my theme of flying the Welsh flag (Manic Street Preachers a few weeks ago, it'll be Catatonia, Duffy and Martin Joseph next!) I am choosing one of my favourite 'Cool Cymru' bands to listen to. They are especially good on a sunny Spring or Summer day, with the windows down and when everything is right with the world!
The Stereophonics really remind me of being in university and discovering my identity as a young adult. I did my teaching degree in Newport and there were quite a few people either from Cwmamon (the 'Phonics home-town) or a nearby village. There was a real sense of local pride in the local boys that were 'doing good'.
The music that they released in their first few albums is my preference, although I'm partial to any of it; I adore Kelly Jones' husky and soulful voice. What was surprising about their debut album, Word Gets Around, was that although it instantly charted at number six, the three main songs from it that are now probably some of their most famous failed to reach the top twenty in the charts: Local Boy in the Photograph, More Life in a Tramps Vest and A Thousand Trees. The 'Phonics became more popular and successful in the charts with the release of Performance and Cocktails, and its raucous The Bartender and the Thief. As far as I am aware, their only number one has been 2005's Dakota.
I've seen them in a number of venues, the last time was in Cardiff, and I'll confess to thinking that Kelly Jones looked like he'd sold out. We didn't stay for the encore, both feeling a little disappointed. I've wiped it from my mind really, preferring to remember them in their prime of the early 2000s.
On that note, I shall leave you with my personal favourite: