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Stereophonics brought two decades of hits to Melbourne

And we frothed it. 

It’s surreal to think that Stereophonics have been on the circuit for two decades. Throughout that time, they have been one of the biggest bands in the UK and have accumulated a respectable catalogue with some bonafide fan favourites. Returning to Australia for the first time in five years in support of their tenth studio album Scream Above the Sounds, the Welsh outfit put on a show that celebrated their longevity.

To see Stereophonics at a venue like The Forum feels like a special occasion when you consider that they’re touring Australia after an arena tour in the UK and Ireland. A smaller venue as opposed to a colossal arena is clearly refreshing for the band. Opening with a roaring rendition of ‘Bartender and the Thief’, Kelly and co. looked over at one another with smiles on their faces. The band followed suit by playing ‘Vegas Two Times’ and ‘A Thousand Trees’ before acknowledging the crowd.

There’s a self-awareness that the band have in regard to the nostalgia attached to their most well-known songs. However, that doesn’t undermine some of their most recent efforts. Tracks like ‘Geronimo’ and in particular, ‘Sunny’, sound like songs which will be just as well received on their next visit alongside their earlier recordings. Their urgency felt vital and the reception was incredibly generous, with more than one Welsh flag being held aloft within the crowd.

It’s wonderful to hear songs like ‘Superman’ and ‘Mr. Writer’ make the set list. Although they are some of their more successful singles - it’s impressive just how well these songs have stood the test of time. “Sorry it’s taken so long Melbourne, but you’re just so fucking far away from home,” Kelly says in his gravelly Welsh accent before going into fan favourite ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, which opened with a beautiful acoustic-led singalong.

Ending their set with ‘Dakota’ makes genuine sense, not that it is their most successful single, but that it feels like a genuine celebration for a band who have been able to stand the test of time without any overt media manipulation or record intervention. For many this is a show in reliving yesteryear, but their overt charm shows their relevancy as to why they’ve been able to sell out shows in spite of the songs we remember.

Highlight: The communal crowd arm in arm and sing along to ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ and ‘Dakota’.

Lowlight: The lack of charisma from the band, although Kelly’s occasionally charm did help.

Crowd Favourite: ‘Dakota’