Rocks In The Attic #153: Stereophonics – ‘Performance And Cocktails’ (1999)

I’m never been a huge fan of this band. I loved this album – and most of its singles – when it came out, but then fame and success seemed to do something to the band, and all of a sudden they started doing really lame stuff like singing Handbags And Gladrags on talk shows, sat moodily on stools.

In other words, they sold out. Their first album set themselves up as a rock band in the vein of early Manic Street Preachers; then this album, their second, pushed them over into the mainstream – mainly because of the five Top-20 singles that were pulled from the album. Unfortunately Performance And Cocktails follows the usual trend that record companies employ – stack all the singles on side one, and stick all the filler on the flip-side.

I don’t think they were even on my radar until I saw them performing Just Looking on TFI Friday. Not a bad song, I thought. I then caught their music video for The Bartender And The Thief, and I was impressed. That song in particular speaks to the rocker in me.

I’m always sceptical about music videos and the role they play in music these days, but the videos they made to promote this album are well worth a watch. The Bartender And The Thief pays homage to the Suzie Q / entertaining the troops scene of Apocalypse Now, Pick A Part That’s New parodies The Italian Job, I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio does the same for Easy Rider and Hurry Up And Wait takes inspiration from M*A*S*H.

I regret not seeing the band in their prime, supporting Aerosmith in 1999 at Wembley (I went to my first Glastonbury festival instead). I did catch them in New Zealand a few years ago, at the Powerstation – a tiny venue compared to the sort of places they would play in the UK. They might not have played Handbags And Gladrags, and they might have been dressed in leather jackets, but they still played a few too many of their catchy, post-2000, pop singles for my liking.

Hit: Just Looking

Hidden Gem: She Takes Her Clothes Off

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