Stereophonics | Live From Dakota (V2)

A trio of Welsh rock gods joined their powers and wove together a highly successful U.K. band. Sadly, mainstream Americans seem to be the last to wake up from our drug-induced coma to take note. Must be all that Ambien.

 

 

stereophonics.jpgStereophonics sleep quietly underneath our American quilted music conscious, already stuffed full with the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Coldplay to squeeze in another stitch. A trio of Welsh rock gods joined their powers and wove together a highly successful U.K. band. Sadly, mainstream Americans seem to be the last to wake up from our drug-induced coma to take note. Must be all that Ambien.

Formed in 1992 by schoolmates Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, and Stuart Cable, Stereophonics later signed with V2 and released their debut album, Word Gets Around. After several albums, all of the right elements were in place for a great tour. With newest member Javier Weyler just barely settled behind his kit, the band hit the road supporting their fifth studio album, Language.Sex.Love.Violence.Other?

Shunning a greatest-hits package, Stereophonics released a two-disc live album showcasing their raw, overpowering energy. Having seen these guys perform live twice, I can undeniably say Live From Dakota captures exactly that unique vibe the Stereophonics are all about: hard-rock styling, powerful vocals, and gritty guitars sounds.

With Live From Dakota, there is minimal crowd banter from frontman Kelly Jones. Instead listeners are treated to an amazing nonstop album covering five studio albums, the unreleased “Jayne,” and the B-side rarity “Carrot Cake and Wine.” Clocking in 90 minutes, each disc is a standard 45-minute LP length. This keeps the 20 songs from slowing down or stalling. Plus, you can impress those so-called music savvy friends and proudly state that this record contains no overdubs whatsoever.

The first half of Live From Dakota draws mostly from Language, though oldies “A Thousand Trees” and “Local Boy in the Photograph” from Word Gets Around make needed appearances. “Mr. Writer,” a critique on said author’s beloved occupation, hits hard and displays more emotion from Kelly’s vocals.

Continuing on disc two, “Hurry Up and Wait” from 1997’s Performance and Cocktails starts with a slow, head-nodding vibe and builds momentum quickly with “Madame Helga” which, in turn, blends into “Vegas Two Times.” At several points, Kelly emits a dirty howl from deep in his gut that sends goose bumps up and down your arms. Then out comes the rare morsel “Carrot Cake and Wine.” A brief sing-a-long chorus is poignant on “Traffic,” bringing the listener right into a special concert moment. The record ends appropriately with the summertime-pleasing “Dakota,” the huge hit single off Language.

As Kelly put it, “If you’ve never been to one of our gigs before, then this will make you want to come.” I could not have written a better line myself.


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