Matt Toner and Steven were invited down to check out the phenomenal Train and Hannah Grace on Wednesday night at The Belfast Waterfront. Known for a plethora of iconic pop-tracks including ‘Drops of Jupiter’ and ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ – the band worked the stage delivering big choruses, dirty guitar solos and hit after hit. Big thank you to Aiken Promotions for their continued support! Here’s what Matt had to say about the show…
Hannah Grace kicked the night off with her incredible voice. Accompanied by her guitarist, Hannah created a captivating sound and atmosphere that was as full as a live band. This singer/songwriter was able to electrify the audience with her beautiful songs and unique cover of Fat Boy Slims ‘Praise you’. There was such a tenderness to Hannah’s voice that you could feel the emotion seep out of every syllable. Highlights of her set included songs such as ‘Blue’ and ‘Mustang’ that enabled her to project her voice from the front of the stage to the back of the Waterfront effortlessly. This is an artist I will definitely be looking forward to hearing from again in the future.
Following the short interval and a quick stage turn-around, American hit-makers Train took to the stage with the crowd on their feet (or on edge of their seats!) from the first line of their opening number ‘Drink Up’. Frontman Pat Monahan strutted the stage, engaging the front row and encouraging every person in the room to start moving and singing. Proceeding into ’50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ – by this point Pat had the crowd eating out of both hands with the rest of the band building their huge wall of sound right behind him.
Train are not your traditional pop-rock act, incorporating strong classic rock vibes into many songs and transitions. Personally, I like to see a band that doesn’t define themselves by one genre and aren’t afraid to let loose. Train certainly played what their Belfast fanbase wanted, turning out hit after hit with songs like ‘Calling All Angels‘, ‘Drive By‘ and mega-hit ‘Hey, Soul Sister‘ that had the waterfront singing their lungs out. Moreover, the band had been tweeting earlier in the day before the gig for requests of what the crowd wanted to hear this evening, the song that had been requested the most was ‘I am’ taken from their debut self-tiled album (1998). This song went down a treat amongst fans and the Belfast audience were lucky enough to hear it especially since they had not performed it in nearly 3 years!
Train had not played in Belfast since their 2012 gig in the Ulster hall – they were very conscious of this and made a point to mention it mid-way through their energetic and enthusiastic set. Pat used the large Waterfront hall to his advantage, making the most of the great acoustics during a very stripped back version of ‘Always Midnight’. This performance was, dare I say, beautiful – no microphones, just one man a piano and an incredible voice…
This being the band’s final night of their tour – they pulled out all the stops, even paying homage to the late great Tom Petty by performing ‘Free Fallin’‘ followed by a cover medley of popular hits. Train made these songs their own. With the night coming to an end, the band finished their set with ‘Drops of Jupiter’ with the entire room lighting up and singing the band home, ending the night on a joyous high.
Check out the full photo gallery on our official Flickr by clicking on the picture below!
Words by Matthew Toner
Photography by Steven Donnelly