It might have seemed an unlikely collaboration on paper but the origins of Far From Saints goes back to 2013 when The Wind And The Wave and Stereophonics first crossed paths, but things developed further in 2019 when they joined Kelly Jones for his solo tour, and later the following year on the Stereophonics UK dates just before the pandemic put the brakes on for everyone. Both Patty Lynn & Dwight Baker teamed up with Jones and before long enough material had been written for an album and which was finally released earlier this year.
Bringing their show to Birmingham Town Hall, they open with ‘Screaming Hallelujah’, a song about change and growth that highlights Jones’ and Lynn’s vocals in call and response before combining in beautiful harmonies in a perfectly crafted slice of americana. The effective but simplistic lighting is enough to create an atmosphere yet affirms that this is going to be all about the music. The hypnotic ‘Faded Black Tattoo’ follows underpinned by Richard Jones rumbling bass line and some delicate slide guitar from Justin Beynon.
Choosing not to play any songs from their respective bands, originals are complemented by songs which have had an influence upon them. The first is Cheap Trick’s ‘I Want You To Want Me’ which is sung by Dwight Baker and notches the energy levels up
Fans who caught Kelly Jones’ solo tour in 2019 will probably already recall Dwight & Patty joining him for a run through of the Tom Petty / Stevie Nicks classic ‘Stop Dragging My Heart Around’. It is no less potent here slotting comfortably between the country tinged ‘We Won’t Get Out Alive’ and the brooding ‘Gonna Find Out What’s Killing Me’.
‘The Ride’ is one of the rockier songs from the album and understandably gets a little more oomph live, with a fiery blues solo from Kelly that develops into an extended Texan boogie that sees the two Welsh guitarists trading licks and a keyboard solo. It’s a magnificent way to bring the eclectic set to a close. A three song encore includes The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ guarantees maximum audience participation while an electrifying ‘American Girl’ brings the night to a euphoric conclusion.
While both parties are planning a return to their respective bands, you get the feeling that there is something special about FFS that means it won’t be too long before they find the time get together again which for those that witnessed the show tonight can only be a good thing.
Faded Black Tattoo
Take It Through the Night
Let’s Turn This Back Around
The Weather Left To Go
No Fool Like an Old Fool
I Want You To Want Me
We Won’t Get Out Alive
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
Gonna Find What’s Killing Me
Let The Light Shine Over
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
Be My Baby