We’ve been counting down the days until the next instalment of Southsea’s Victorious Festival but now the weather has taken a sunnier turn and the site build has begun, it’s all feeling a bit more real. I always get my tickets as soon as the festival ends, regardless of who might be playing – because saving money is hip, right?! But this year’s announcement that Stereophonics are to headline Saturday night left me feeling happier than a gorilla in a paddling pool.
I’ve been a huge fan since their first studio album Word Gets Around (which was released, gulp, 20 years ago) and have been to see them play live many times – most recently last year in Cardiff, in their homeland.
Bob Dylan’s recent reveal that Stereophonics feature in his list of favourite recent artists provoked mixed reactions – and a few chortles – from the media. Despite opinions on what the ‘Phonics supposedly lack in adventures in music, they certainly make up for in stage presence, solid rock songs and terrace anthems. Add in Kelly Jones’ incredible voice, a bunch of stirring strings and the band’s passion for performing and you have the recipe for a banging Saturday night by the sea.
We’ll see them at Victorious several months before the release of their tenth album – but what can we expect from their set? I’d guess a cross-section of their nine albums – from the punky ‘C’est La Vie‘ and the lighters-in-the-air ‘Maybe Tomorrow‘ to the heavier ‘Bartender and the Thief‘ and their first number one, ‘Dakota‘ – along with knowing-more-words-than-you-thought-you-did.
Stereophonics’ undeniably broad appeal may also be the reason for their longevity. As Jones recently said in an interview with NME “The audiences have been getting bigger and more diverse – there’s like 16 and 17-year-old kids in the front row which is really good for us. We’re starting to find new people at our shows as well as having people that have been following the band for a long time.” For that reason, I wouldn’t be surprised if their slot against Rita Ora at Victorious makes it a tough decision for some. What’s more, Jones’ voice sounds just like it did twenty years ago. You’ll definitely be left wondering how he looks the same too (I swear that guy has a special painting in his attic).
If you haven’t listened to any of their recent stuff, check out C’est La Vie from the number one album, Keep the Village Alive.
For those of you who do not have tickets then you can find out more about how you can get involved here – www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets.