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Live Reviews

Stereophonics

Cambridge Corn Exchange

Tuesday 30th November 2021

Stereophonics

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Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, especially when related to music. Take tonight’s show from Stereophonics which is part of the 20th Anniversary Tour for classic album, ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ as an example. Just the name of the album instantly takes me back to high school, instantly takes me back to sitting in my room and pressing play on said album in my bulky old CD player (remember those?).

Yes, musical nostalgia is a truly wonderful thing and is what ensures venues like the Corn Exchange in Cambridge are sold out for this tour.

There is no nostalgia for our young support act, Tom Speight, but after his delightful set, there will surely be many new fans. Speight’s short time on stage allows him to serenade the packed crowd with his marvellously crafted ballads. His gleaming demeanour is reciprocated by his legion of converted followers, as he ensures a superb start to the evening.

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Up next is the nostalgia we speak of, as Stereophonics get straight down to business. Spending the first hour of the night performing the album affectionately known as ‘JEEP’ in its entirety, the band take the audience in a time machine back to 2001; a much simpler time, and a time where the band were dominating the musical landscape.

Monster hits such as ‘Mr. Writer’ and ‘Have a Nice Day’ punctuate an album blessed with quality throughout. Huge crowd reactions naturally also greet the likes of ‘Vegas Two Times’, ‘Step on My Old Size Nines’ and ‘Handbags and Gladrags’.

WATCH ‘HAVE A NICE DAY’ ON YOUTUBE
Stereophonics – ‘Have A Nice Day’

A short break then sees the band return to the stage to fast forward to the present for a run of tracks include new songs ‘Hanging On Your Hinges’ and ‘Do Ya Feel My Love’ from upcoming album ‘Oochya!’.

Stereophonics have done an incredible job in staying relevant some twenty years post ‘JEEP’. The fact that these dates are intimate shows despite still being large venues says a lot. The band, of course, will return to play arenas and stadiums imminently.

It’s a pleasure therefore to be able to catch the likes of ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, ‘Just Looking’ and ‘Dakota’ as the band return to the stage for a third and final time.

This band has proven themselves to be incredibly consistent both on record and on stage and nights like this are to be cherished. Ultimately tonight is a celebration of the past that also shows that the future remains bright for Stereophonics.

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Categories
Live Reviews

The Darkness

Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Wednesday 24th November 2021

The Darkness

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THE DARKNESS – CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE – LIVE REVIEW

Would it be November without a tour from The Darkness? I mean can you even celebrate Christmas until you’ve heard the band play that song? In my opinion, no!

Said tour is in full gear, and tonight it finds its way into the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. The tour is in support of brand new album, ‘Motorheart’; and along for the ride are Massive Wagons.

Read our review of ‘Motorheart’ from The Darkness

After original support British Lion withdrew, some might say that the arrival of Massive Wagons late in the day wasn’t just a worthy replacement but actually an upgrade! The band have steadily built themselves a solid reputation as a band and as a live act and slots like this will only grow that reputation. Win, win then.

Tonight they are greeted warmly by the Cambridge crowd as they preview their own latest release, ‘House of Noise’. The likes of ‘In It Together’, ‘Pressure’ and ‘Bangin in Your Stereo’ mix perfectly with fan favourites ‘China Plates’ and ‘Back to the Stack’ to make for a fantastic opening set.

Crowd suitably warmed, it’s then time for that band of folklore The Darkness to shine bright on the big stage once again. To be completely honest, it’s almost a pointless job in reviewing this band as they are so prolific on stage. When you buy a ticket to The Darkness, you know that you will have a good time.

The set list for this tour is as you would expect for a new album tour – a mix of said new album and cult debut ‘Permission To Land’, with a handful of other offerings thrown in for good measure.

WATCH ‘IT’S LOVE, JIM’ ON YOUTUBE
The Darkness – ‘It’s Love, Jim’

‘Motorheart’ is another solid album of typical Darkness material and it therefore fits right in. From set opener ‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’, to the title track, to the fun ‘It’s Love, Jim’, the new material presents well live, again as you would expect really.

Naturally the biggest reactions of the evening come from the likes of early tracks ‘One Way Ticket’, ‘Growing On Me’, ‘Friday Night’ and ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’. It must be said though that the likes of ‘Open Fire’, ‘Heart Explodes’, ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Barbarian’ from more recent albums are also now received as set staples.

Singer Justin Hawkins’ on stage banter tonight is to critique the somewhat quiet audience. Having just the night before reviewed a gig whereby I felt the need to comment on the rudeness of the crowd in talking louder than the music, it leaves me wondering just where the sweet spot is for crowd attention.

All that is left to complete the night is that old Christmas classic ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ with the band attired in suitably festive gear. Then the crowd can go off into the night happy and ready to celebrate the time of year, all thanks to The Darkness!

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