Kelly Jones

five stars

Brighton Dome, Brighton, Monday, June 10

THERE is no superlative in the dictionary that does Kelly Jones justice.

His swashbuckling style as Stereophonics’ frontman is well versed, but Brighton Dome got a glimpse of the man behind the music. It was a night to savour.

Given the casual nature of the performance it could well have been an open mic night at the Cwmaman Workmen’s Social Club, only the village’s most famous son was front and centre.

Guiding the audience through the narrative of his songs, Jones lifted the lid on the meaning of his lyrics with ease and dropped in some Hollywood-worthy anecdotes from his time on the road with the likes of David Bowie and The Rolling Stones.

Quick-witted and instantly likeable, he talked candidly of his children, love life, family and Stuart Cable, his band’s former drummer who died prematurely in 2010.

What brought Jones into the music industry in the first place was storytelling.

Much of the Stereophonics’ first album Word Gets Around was written on brown paper bags as Jones jotted down conversations he overheard working on a fruit and veg stall in the Welsh Valleys.

Touring these punchy rock songs saw him find his escape on the tour bus writing bluesy tunes influenced by the new places the small-town Valley boys were visiting.

And the tour showcases Jones’ epic storytelling ability delivered by his iconic raspy voice and brought to life by a stage filled with two drum kits, two pianos, a violin, a trumpet and a sea of guitars.

A crowd-pleasing encore sent everyone home happy and earned Jones a lengthy standing ovation.

This solo expedition cements him at the top of the list of Britain’s best singer-songwriters.

I would give the show seven stars if I could.

Not bad for a boy who built it all from a dead-end street.

Gareth Davies