Train / Magic Numbers / Natasha North – O2 London. 24 March 2015

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Picking my daughters’ favourite band? Easy. Whilst their friends are all boy-band crazy, or turning a little bit Emo, my girls are huge fans of US rockers Train. So when we saw that they were appearing at the O2, of course we were going to be there.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of huge arena gigs, preferring the smaller, more intimate venues where you can really engage with the artist. So I went with a mix of expectations: excited for the girls, looking forward to Train (they are very good) and apprehension that the size of the venue might dwarf the experience.

First on was a singer unknown to me. Natasha North hails from Beaconsfield, in the rural commuter belt just outside London. Her blend of acoustic guitar, synth strings, and rhythmic percussion filled the arena, and her haunting vocals really kicked the evening off well. She declared to the appreciative crowd that this was ‘the biggest gig of her life’ which made her performance all the better, as she really stepped up to the plate. Check her site out at http://www.natashanorth.com

Following on from Natasha were The Magic Numbers. Hailing from my own home town of Hanwell, I was looking forward to a blend of rock and pop delivered with style and setting us all up for the main event. So I was a little disappointed to find their set comprised a very formulaic blend of bland, uninspiring tunes delivered in a style that suggests they had watched ‘How To Play Rock On Stage #101’ before stepping out. I saw all the poses, all the wide-legged stances, and all the guitar-waving, but the music didn’t live up to the billing. They weren’t bad as such, just a bit… well, meh… Check out http://themagicnumbers.net

And so to Train.

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Formed in 1993 in Los Angeles, Train have consistently delivered well-crafted, catchy rock tunes for more than two decades. In Pat Monahan they have the secret ingredient every successful band needs – a charismatic frontman. Pat’s ability to engage fully with the audience, and his flawless delivery of their catalogue, set the arena alight. This I know to be true, because from the word go, my girls were utterly enthralled. yelling the lyrics to every song at the top of their voices, taking pictures and selfies, they were in heaven.

With songs such as Angel In Blue Jeans, Hey Soul Sister, Bruises, 50 Ways To Say Goodbye and Drops Of Jupiter, Train have identified their sound, and deliver their songs with confidence and energy. And it’s clear that they love what they do, an emotion that spills out to the enraptured audience.

I can pay them one more compliment, which for me shows their skill: They made a huge auditorium feel like a small club. You don’t get better than that.

Train‘s website is http://savemesanfrancisco.com – check it out for more information about my girls’ favourite band!

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