You know it’s officially the end of summer in Doha when internationally-acclaimed artists begin to show up again. October saw the Defected clan arrive and this month it’s Welsh band Stereophonics, headed up by lead singer, guitarist and heartthrob to many, Kelly Jones.
The band had significant success at the end of the last century and the start of this one, including six UK number one albums, and the group has even collaborated with Wales’ biggest music legend Tom Jones. However, they are still working hard on creating new material, recently releasing more singles and unveiling their latest album, Keep the Village Alive, earlier this year.
Here are some of the hits that you could well hear at the gig at the Sheraton Doha, many of which would bring back memories of yesteryear.
The Bartender and the Thief
This single, released with the band’s second album in 1998, Grafitti on the Train, came in at number three on the UK charts and helped to etch the Stereophonics’ name as a major upcoming band. The video is based on the Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now, starring Marlon Brando. The start of the video sees a chopper go over fields, in homage to the movie, while the band sit on a boat, imitating the cast.
The lyrics are a little confusing, though we know the bartender and thief are lovers, while the song is upbeat and easy to rock to.
After the success of The Bartender and the Thief, this hit helped to propel the band further into the limelight. It was the third studio album, Just Enough Education to Perform, that ensured the band’s success was sustained and showed that the group was no flash-in-the pan. Maybe Tomorrow was a major part in ensuring this success.
Jones’ husky tones were at their best as he sings about forgetting all his troubles today and finding his way home the following day – maybe!
Have a Nice Day
Along with Maybe Tomorrow, this hit propelled the band from relatively well-known to superstardom. It was also included in the Just Enough Education to Perform album and although the single received negative reviews, the hit came in at number five in the charts and gave a statement of the band’s intent. The lyrics are simple enough, inspired by a cab fare the band took as they were driven around San Francisco. The words the cab driver said to them were put into the song and it remains a much-played tune to this day.
Handbags and Gladrags
Singing a Rod Stewart classic is always a risky strategy, but the Stereophonics pulled it off with aplomb in this single, taken from the band’s fourth album You Gotta go there to Come Back, released in 2003. Jones’ hoarse voice suited the single perfectly and meant that the piece sounded very similar to the original but with a contemporary edge.
A song about the inevitability of getting old and the futility of looking trendy in your youth – pretty ironic considering how young the band members still look.
Mama Told Me
Yep, this is the hit in Tom Jones’ Reload album where the band performs with the Welsh wizard himself. Originally sung by Eric Burden in 1966 and popularised by Three Dog Night all the way back in 1970, with a funkier, pop rock version, the Stereophonics made the third incarnation of the single their own, coming in at number four in the UK charts. It is a livelier and more upbeat version than the 1970 hit.
C’est La Vie
A dodgy name for a single that automatically conjures up connotations of B*Witched, but the single is better than its name. It was unveiled as the band’s lead single on their latest album, Decade in the Sun, released earlier this year. The first minute of the song in the video sees a group of people in the bar chatting and one renegade deciding to change the music and vibe of the bar (the background music is Handbags and Gladrags) in a symbolic representation of ‘out with the old, in with the new’. It keeps to the band’s principles; it’s fun and shows that the band is not resting on its laurels.
Stereophonics is performing at Indigo, Sheraton Doha, West Bay on November 10 (3369 2133). Ticket prices start from QR250 (regular).