Venue Cymru in Llandudno has two areas. A Theatre and an event arena. I’ve visited the Theatre part here a couple of times. More recently just a few weeks ago to watch the hilarious ‘Benidorm‘ live show, but this is my first taste of a live gig here and indeed, of seeing the Phonics.
The arena itself for me is the perfect size. Big enough to hold a fair sized crowd, but small enough to remain remotely intimate. You could say that its a large, intimate venue. The stage set has been purposely extended out into the crowd from the middle section, making certain moments of the night even more intimate as Kelly Jones wanders forward.
But before the Phonics took the stage, we were treated to an outstanding set by Dan Stock. A very talented young man from Milton Keynes who’s no stranger to the big stage, having played Reading & Leeds 2017. He’s no frills. Just a guy with a guitar, and no band. Well, at least live anyway.
His music leads more towards the pop genre, but when you’re stood alone on stage with a guitar, in front of over a thousand people then it doesn’t matter what genre you are. The feel and emotion that oozes from Dan and his set here tonight eliminates the need for any genre. It’s just pure class. Very The Verve. Beautiful. My personal opinion is that 40 minutes of acoustical perfection wasn’t enough, and this guy is now on my hit list to see again.
As 9pm reached us and the lights dissolved the arena to darkness, a huge roar bellowed. Now, I’m going to have to be totally honest here and admit that the Phonics lost me after J.E.E.P, but there’s always been a flame held by myself for them, and with tonight’s show being virtually on my doorstep, then it was a no brainer to be here tonight.
The intro tape to ‘The Warriors’ theme electrified the arena, and when the band appeared on stage to the stunning tune of ‘C’est La Vie’ the place was rocking. And I mean….rocking. Having a photo pass for this one magnified the intensity and excitement of the opening three tracks just by being so close to them. It was a surreal experience which I’d love to do again.
‘Caught By The Wind’ was the band’s 2nd track and I just knew from this point that they couldn’t go wrong tonight. The sound was perfect. The lighting rig was stunning. They belted out track after track of hit after hit. ‘ I Wanna Get Lost With You‘, ‘Superman‘, ‘Step On My Old Size Nines’, ‘Have A Nice Day’. It was relentless.
One of the highlights of the night was the chilled out / semi-acoustic set which they performed at the very front of the stage extension. Cracking out songs such as ‘I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio’ and ‘Handbags And Gladrags’. Diversity in abundance, and you could tell the set-list had been well thought through as there were twenty three songs played across nine albums.
The flame I held for Sterephonics for all these years has now ignited into something huge. This was a night never to be forgotten. A stunning set from a stunning band, and I feel privileged to have witnessed it. Going to see these guys again will never be in doubt.
Intro – The Warriors Theme 1 – C’est La Vie 2 – Caught By The Wind 3 – I Wanna Get Lost With You
4 – All In One Night 5 – Superman 6 – Geronimo 7 – Step On My Old Size Nines 8 – Have A Nice Day
9 – Maybe Tomorrow 10 – I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio 11 – Handbags And Gladrags
12 – Hurry Up And Wait 13 – Mr Writer 14 – Sunny 15 – Chaos From The Top Down 16 – Just Looking
17 – Indian Summer 18 – Traffic 19 – A Thousand Trees 20 – Local Boy In The Photograph
21 – The Bartender And The Thief 22 – Mr And Mrs Smith (Encore) 23 – Dakota (Encore)