Stereophonics review: A Nice Day was had by all

Stereophonics performed at Westonbirt Arboretum.

Stereophonics performed at Westonbirt Arboretum. - Credit: Stereophonics

‘It only takes one match to burn a thousand trees’ according to Welsh rocker Kelly Jones of the band, Stereophonics, at a gig last night (Thursday) but luckily for the forest in Gloucestershire which provided the backdrop to it, there was no chance of that happening due to the unseasonal June downpours.

The band put on an electrifying performance.

The band put on an electrifying performance. - Credit: Archant

But the repeated rain and a weird umbrella ban at Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the thousand or so of the boys from Cwmaman's biggest West Country fans.

Celebrating 20 years since the release of the seminal album Performance And Cocktails, the indie favourites put on an electrifying performance, thankfully not literally though, as there must have been a conversation about whether the concert should go ahead as scheduled on such a small stage which was open to all the elements.

But in true rock 'n' roll tradition and in the spirit of most of the country's open-air festivals, the gig went ahead, and their loyal fanbase, many of whom will have been with them since their early breakthrough days of the late 1990s, thanked them royally by singing on the tops of their voices, waving, whooping, cheering and clapping and kept warm by bopping and jigging along to all the well-loved tunes.

The beautiful staging and backdrop mesmerised their army of fans.

The beautiful staging and backdrop mesmerised their army of fans. - Credit: Archant

Renowned for being one of the UK's best live acts, the five-piece sounded every bit as professional as they do in a studio on the stage, with Kelly rasping out every word note-perfect.


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With every tune a banger, according to a group of young lads going crazy behind us, they featured material from across their extensive back catalogue from the iconic Handbags And Gladrags to crowd-pleaser Dakota which they left for their encore finale.

Mr Jones had his legion of adoring female fans eating out of the palm of his hand while crooning the melancholy Hurry Up And Wait, Maybe Tomorrow, Local Boy In The Photograph, Just Looking and Indian Summer (my friend's favourite) and mine, which is ironically Mr Writer, given that it is criticising my chosen profession!

Kelly Jones strumming his stuff.

Kelly Jones strumming his stuff. - Credit: Archant

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The irony of A Thousand Trees was not lost on the swaying hoards, while The Bartender And The Thief and Step On My Old Size Nines really whipped the crowd up into a frenzy.

At one point Kelly et al were joined on stage by their support band, The Wind And The Wave, a duo from Austin, Texas, whereupon Kelly sang a Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks number with its singer Patty Lynn which was very well-received.

Throughout most of the two-hour set, being only 5ft 3ins tall was a massive disadvantage as I struggled to see the band and the smallish venue meant there were none of the huge screens and special effects seen at stadium gigs, but thankfully there was a microphone and even a drumkit which arose at the front of the stage during certain songs, allowing me to see my heroes at a few given moments.

Kelly Jones et al gave it their all and the crowd loved every moment.

Kelly Jones et al gave it their all and the crowd loved every moment. - Credit: Archant

I had waited a long time to see this band, having failed to get to a concert in Bristol I had tickets for a few years ago due to an accident on the M5 and I can honestly say they were extremely worthy of the long wait and were every bit as amazing as I expected them to be and more.

Tickets for the gig sold out in minutes so I felt very privileged to see them, especially in such a wonderful setting.

Forest Live is held every summer by Forestry Commission England, with money raised from ticket sales used to help to look after the nation's forests.

The band deserved the rapturous applause given by their legions of fans at Westonbirt Arboretum.

The band deserved the rapturous applause given by their legions of fans at Westonbirt Arboretum. - Credit: Archant

Other concerts include Paul Weller tonight (Friday), Jack Savoretti tomorrow (Saturday) and Hacienda Classical on Sunday.

Further information and tickets are available via www.forestryengland.uk

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