Live gig review and photography credit : Adrian Hextall
One of the best things about the festival season is the opportunity to see some of the bands scheduled to appear playing intimate club dates as a warm up before the main event. Tonight is no exception and the 350 capacity 100 Club on London’s busy Oxford street has been sold out for weeks in anticipation of San Franciscan Pop Rock stars Train playing in our fair capital city.
With no support band, Train take to the stage at 8pm and play a great 19 song set that covers their excellent career and sees all of the fan favourites aired along with some classic rock tunes that show how well, when they need to, this band can rock the rafters of a venue. With the first few rows packed with a bevy of female fans, Pat Monahan spends time taking mobile phones off them and takes numerous selfies of himself before handing them back and moving on to another willing participant. A nice gesture which flies in the face of many other gigs where the lead singers have snatched phones and cameras and launched them into the back of the venue.
New drummer Drew Shoals is shoehorned into the centre of a fairly cramped stage and the sides see Jimmy Stafford perched on the edge playing some wonderful guitar and ukulele whilst stage left has touring vocalists Sakai Smith and Nikita Houston adding some beautiful and soulful vocals on the choruses. A mid set cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘What is and Should Never Be’ shows off their rock roots and sensibilities and it’s striking just how close to Robert Plant’s voice Pat Monahan can get. Typically we also get (often in the encore) Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’. Sadly not tonight but maybe next time they grace our shores.
With a new album due for release in early September 2014, some new songs are aired tonight including ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ and ‘Angel in Blue Jeans’. ‘Angel in Blue Jeans’ is thankfully devoid of the rather scary Danny Trejo seen in the video in full on Machete mode! The new tracks fit seamlessly with the older material that tonight reads like a greatest hits list and fan favourites.
When Pat calls upon the girls for one of them to join him on stage to sing duet, the first person to claim they know the words in full is of course a guy. Laughing that ‘this is always the case”, he eventually settles on a young girl from the front who ably performs the Ashley Monroe vocal from ‘Bruises’. Once the song is over she dashes past Pat to the actual target of her affections, namely Jimmy who looks slightly taken aback as she flings her arms around him for a hug and a half.
The final few songs of the set have all reached the upper echelons of the charts and we get back to back hits with ‘Marry Me’ which of course has most of the girls in the audience singing along word for word, ‘Hey Soul Sister’ and ‘Drive By’ which both contain a groove that is impossible to shift long after the gig is over and of course encore, ‘Drops of Jupiter’, a massive hit globally that really put the band on the map.
A great set from a great band with some excellent new numbers from ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ (Released on September 16th.)
Sakai Smith and Nikita Houston
Calling All Angels
Save Me, San Francisco
If It’s Love
Get To Me
What is and Should Never Be (Cover of Led Zeppelin song)
When I Look to the Sky
50 Ways to Say Goodbye
I Got You
Angel in Blue Jeans
Hey Soul Sister
Drops of Jupiter