Olympics concert: Why Stereophonics are perfect to represent Wales
This morning's news that Stereophonics are to represent Wales at the Olympic concert in Hyde Park (27 July) initially brought a groan from me; but on reflection I've come to the conclusion that actually, they're perfect for it.
Coinciding with the opening ceremony of the games, this concert has representation from all countries of the UK, with Duran Duran for England, Paolo Nutini for Scotland and Snow Patrol for Northern Ireland.
With the eyes of the world on London for the games, all the attendant cultural events should fit with the idea of success and easy recognition - and it's no good putting leftfield oddness forward. The Olympics are inherently conservative; it's an establishment event and as so often the case, when establishment events attempt a more 'with it' stance, down with the kids, as it were, it merely becomes awkward and anachronistic.
Stereophonics, now a veteran act, have dozens of hit singles. Their albums sold by the million across the world (especially in Asia and Australasia) and they're a recognisable, solid name. Their songs can be sung along to. Their musical oeuvre may not be a genre-bending, perception-warping revolution, but it's effective.
The Cwmaman band have been Wales' biggest selling rock band of the past 15 years, lest we forget.
Call them 'dad rock', but look at the other acts announced for this concert. I thank god that 'Let's get a Welsh act on' didn't result in the default booking for Tom, Shirl or Shaky. Instead, we get a band who were once semi-cool, and not in a kitsch way. Their early singles had a verve and vigour to them.
And in comparison with the rest of the acts? I think we do all right here. Duran Duran is an odd choice; fantastic singles band, but over 20 years ago. Snow Patrol? Boring. Paolo Nutini? Enough said.
There's often an impulse, among those who know their music, to bemoan a lack of invention on the part of those who run establishment events - 'they could have booked so-and-so, they're much better' - but this time they've got it right. They've booked a band who aren't the wrong side of 50, who can bash out hit after hit, look good on telly and can provide a damned good time to thousands of gig-goers.
For the record, my alternative bill would be: Therapy? (Northern Ireland), Jesus And Mary Chain (Scotland), Manic Street Preachers (Wales) and Pink Floyd (England).
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