Train in vain

train live

Train at the Manchester Apollo: they’re good, but they’re no Liquorice Allstars.

Joe Elephant and I went to see the American Rock band Train yesterday at Manchester Apollo. I was going to write a review of their show, but then I remembered that I hadn’t written my review of the last Liquorice Allstars gig. And quite frankly, we need the publicity way more than they do.

So, Liquorice Allstars at Heswall Squash Racquets Club… changing the subject back to the Apollo for the moment, it was at this very venue, just over 31 years ago, that I went to my very first gig (Saturday 29 May 1982, to be exact). It was legendary American singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Todd Rundgren (okay, I can imagine most of my regular readers don’t know him from Adam (Levine, the lead singer with Maroon 5), but without this man, the world might never have heard Meat Loaf’s Bat out of Hell – go Google it). It was a solo tour, just one man and his acoustic guitar (oh, and his electric guitar every now and then. Plus an occasional piano when the need arose. And he may have used a drum machine on one track).

I don’t remember the gig as vividly as I remember me and my pals getting jumped by a gang of thugs as we waited for my dad to come and pick us up. I suppose that’s because Todd just sang and played his acoustic guitar, whereas these guys punched us in our faces and chased us round Birkenhead. Similarly, in years to come I probably won’t remember much about this Train gig, but I’ll still remember being assaulted outside that phonebox in Argyle Street when I was just a fresh-faced teen.

Now, maybe if Train frontman Pat Monahan had leapt off the stage and kneed me in the nuts…

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5 thoughts on “Train in vain

  1. Birkenhead hasn’t changed much. Don’t get Train though. Thought they were destined for better songs after ‘Drops of Jupiter’ but all they seem to do is wimpy Maroon 5 stylee songs. They definitely must have potential though but definitely have a long, long way to go to catch up to the raw anarchy of the Allsorts.

  2. Train are really good live. I liked their last album too, though perhaps it’s too American pop/rock sounding for you? Though I should state for the record, I’d rather be big in the US or China and unknown over here.

    Currently, of course, I’m only unknown over here. Mind you, there’s one half of the equation already sorted!

    • It’s a bit too pussy-pop and not enough Rock for me – at least on the radio play singles. It’s almost like them, Maroon 5 and the Plain White Tees or whatever they’re called have been fed through the same blender for radio play. Though I did hear a Maroon 5 gig on the radio a couple of years ago and they sounded a hell of a lot ballsier than their recorded output would suggest. Drummer was great as well.

      There’s nowt special about cracking the UK. It doesn’t have a music industry anymore so doesn’t count in my book. If you can crack the US, then you’re sorted for life.

      • I think bands did that genre a lot better in the 80’s & 90’s, maybe because the songwriting was stronger? There were some fantastic, well crafted songs but maybe radio has gone ultra-soft these days. I don’t know, I just don’t hear a lot that stinks of good old fashioned strong songwriting.

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