REVIEW: Stereophonics shine in the sun at Lytham Festival

Stereophonics perform at Lytham Festival. Photo by Dan Martino.
Stereophonics perform at Lytham Festival. Photo by Dan Martino.

A fish and chip supper followed by a balmy summer’s evening spent watching bands on the beach – what better way to spend a few hours?

Stereophonics were topping the bill at Lytham Festival on Thursday, and the weather really couldn’t have been more perfect, as the dark clouds from earlier in the day made way for blue skies and warm temperatures which lasted well into the evening.

Stereophonics perform at Lytham Festival. Photo by Dan Martino.

Stereophonics perform at Lytham Festival. Photo by Dan Martino.

Alt-pop quartet Sophie and the Giants opened the show, stepping in at short notice to replace Jade Bird who was unable to play as planned due to ill health.

They were followed by indie pop musician Tom Grennan.

The setting was stunning, with thousands enjoying the late sunshine as they waited for the main act to appear.

Stereophonics began their show with a bang as the opening notes of The Bartender and the Thief rang out across the venue as the band appeared on stage.

Hit after hit followed for the next two hours, old and new from the band’s 10 studio albums but all instantly recognisable.

It’s 22 years since the band’s first album, Word Gets Around, was released, but the songs haven’t aged, and it was clear from the crowd that as well as those that have grown up with their music, Stereophonics have collected a new, younger audience along the way.

Many of their songs, particularly from the early years, have a ‘small-town life’ theme running through them which seems to strike a chord with people of all ages.

Singalongs such as Vegas Two Times, Have a Nice Day and Mr Writer sit comfortably alongside slower numbers including Step On My Old Size Nines, Maybe Tomorrow, Traffic and Just Looking.

The band seemed to enjoy having an extended central stage to use, venturing out several times to get closer to the crowd.

I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio, Pick a Part That’s New and She Takes Her Clothes Off were all performed during a mid-set soiree to the middle of the arena, before a touching solo by frontman Kelly Jones of the heartfelt Billy Davey’s Daughter.

Stereophonics are a band of few words, preferring to let their music do the talking, although Kelly did share one random tale of holidaying in a Blackpool B&B as a nine-year-old, where he was taught to make roll-ups by a Scotsman while his parents watched Roy Chubby Brown.

A rendition on the piano of I Stopped to Fill My Car Up followed this revelation.

A beautiful cover of Handbags and Gladrags was followed swiftly by classic hits A Thousand Trees and Local Boy in the Photograph before the band swept off stage to rapturous applause.

But they were soon back for an encore of Hurry Up and Wait, Mr and Mrs Smith and Dakota.

The fireworks which lit up the sky over the stage during the rousing rendition of Dakota finished off the evening on a high and sent everyone home with smiles on their faces.

With Kylie and Rod Stewart still to come over the next couple of days, along with an evening of Hollywood Proms starring Michael Ball and Sheridan Smith to finish off the festival on Sunday, organisers and fans alike will be hoping the sun shines down as it did for Stereophonics.