BRANSON’S PICKLE!

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But the band need a knightly intervention after license runs out…

[url=]STEREOPHONICS were delayed for over an hour last night (March 14) when they turned up to perform a special instore show for their fans in LONDON to celebrate the release of their new album ‘LANGUAGE. SEX. VIOLENCE. OTHER?’.

Organisers almost had to pull the intimate gig at Oxford Street’s Virgin Megastore when Westminster Council blocked the store’s application for a temporary licence yesterday afternoon.

The council took the decision after Virgin’s original licence went past its expiry date.

After a 50-minute delay the gig looked almost certain to be shelved when a spokeswoman announced that it was unclear whether the band would actually be performing.

But Virgin and V2 boss Sir Richard Branson eventually persuaded the police to allow the gig to go ahead at the eleventh hour, much to the cheers of the waiting fans who had queued for hours to see the band.

When the Welsh trio eventually arrived onstage at 7pm singer Kelly Jones joked: “Thank you everyone for turning up. We had a spot of diarrhoea which took time to clean up. I don’t know what that was all about,” before he kicked off the set with their first single ‘Looks Like Chaplin’.

During the stripped down show, the band performed songs from their fifth album – the first since the departure of Stuart Cable and the arrival of new drummer Javier Weyler – including ‘Superman’, ‘Doorman’ and their Number One single ‘Dakota’.

Speaking before the band got the go-ahead to perform Kelly said: “Everything has been going really good lately with Javier coming in and the single getting to Number One. Doing well with ‘Dakota’ meant a lot to us because it was us trying out a very new thing.”

He added: “We were like a new band and this had got us a bit of a negative view in the press after what happened with the Stuart thing and people not really listening to the last record because of all that. For us it was just really encouraging that people were still into the band. I nicked Elvis’ haircut as well and beat him to the top which can’t be bad. I never thought I’d be in a fight with Elvis.”

Earlier in the day the Welsh trio signed copies of their album for hundreds of fans at the Virgin store in Cardiff.

“Instores are a bit weird because you never know who is going to be there that early in the morning,” said Kelly of the appearance. “But all the kids just didn’t go to school really. So basically we were promoting truancy and I’m all for that.”

[url=]Stereophonics also play:

Glasgow SECC (September 6)

Birmingham NIA (9)

Sheffield Hallam FM Arena (12)

Newcastle Metro Radio Arena (13)

Nottingham Arena (14)

Manchester MEN Arena (16)

London Hammersmith Apollo (19, 20, 21)

Cardiff International Arena (24, 25, 26)

For ticket availability, [url=]go to NME tickets or call the NME Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663.