Train Fans Are Derailing The Band
If you like catchy melodies and clever lyrics you’re probably a Train fan.
If you think Pat Monahan looks like a Greek God you’re probably a Train fan.
If you’re white, in your thirties or forties, and you’ve purchased wine from somewhere other than a grocery store, you’re probably a Train fan.
If you’ve dressed up like a mermaid and attended a Train concert you’re not only a fan but you’re the type of fan the band needs more of.
This summer, Train is departing on a 42-date tour of North America. Named after the band’s seventh studio album, “Picasso at the Wheel Summer Tour” begins May 21 at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Marysville, California (near Sacramento) and ends July 25 at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, Washington (between Seattle and Spokane).
Highlights of Train’s itinerary include a May 23rd concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, a May 29th gig at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, a June 20th performance at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, and a July 3rd show at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.
Also on board are The Fray and Matt Nathanson.
The band wants you to do more than buy Train tickets and show up shortly before they take the stage. They want you to arrive early.
Before the concert begins there will be tailgating, a deejay, prize giveaways, and the recording of “Patcast,” Monahan’s weekly podcast. Train’s lead singer will show up “periodically” throughout the tour. It would be nice if Monahan showed up to every taping before every concert. Yes, it’s a huge commitment, but it is his podcast and they are his fans.
Those arriving early can also enter a mermaid costume contest and possibly win a chance to join the band onstage. The mermaid contest is inspired by the band’s 2012 single, “Mermaid.” I imagine that in order to even be in the running you’ll have to be an out-of-shape hirsute man or a drop-dead gorgeous chick.
The mermaid contest is a great idea. It’s certainly better than any contest the band could have made out their songs “Bruises,” “Son of a Prison Guard,” or “You Can Finally Meet My Mom.”
Participation in the contest is what Train needs more from their fans. Well, maybe not more costume contests but certainly more of that kind of spirit.
Without a doubt, Train is one of the greatest bands to come out of the 1990s. They’ve sold more than 10 million records, charted five albums inside the Billboard top ten, placed eight singles inside the Top 40, captured three Grammy Awards, and played to packed houses all over the world.
Their songs are easy to sing, easy to move to, and relatable.
Furthermore, Train is great live. They have tons of charisma, their friendly, and have a great sense of humor.
Train released their first album in 1998. If you look at other bands that debuted in the 1990s, Train either surpasses them or holds their own. Yet, Train generally finds themselves looking up at groups like Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Wilco, No Doubt, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, and The Black Eyed Peas.
Part of the reason why Train is the redheaded stepchild of rock is they didn’t ride the wave of teen-friendly subgenres like grunge, punk, alternative country, or hip hop. The band’s egalitarian alt-rock vibe has created a huge and ardent fan base of thoroughly causal fans.
You won’t find many Train supporters on Twitter or Facebook writing disparaging remarks about the sexuality of Blink-182, Smashing Pumpkins, or some other band (not that I’m encouraging such a thing).
While Foo Fighters get choice gigs on cool late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live, Train is booked on programs like LIVE with Kelly and Michael, TODAY, The View, and Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld (which airs on Fox News).
The Black Eyed Peas and No Doubt have performed at the Super Bowl halftime show. Train performed at the 2013 Pro Bowl.
Weezer fans won’t fight you if you disrespect Rivers Cuomo, but they will refuse to drive you to Anthropology in their Audi A3s.
Pearl Jam fans remain thick as thieves even though the band put them through hell while fighting Ticketmaster. During that ridiculous stance, PJ fans had to endure concerts in cow pastures and Elk Lodges.
Broadway made a musical out of a Green Day album and their fans flocked to see it. It was basically two hours of equity actors doing nothing but twitching and scowling like punk rock singers but it was enough to win a couple of Tonys.
Fans of Dave Matthews Band follow the group around North America so intently that they forget to shower. Train fans can’t do that since they have to work the next day.
Train doesn’t need better songs or more dynamism in their live shows. They don’t even need more fans. They just need their current fans to be more vocal and spirited.
Train fans need to use the internet’s anonymity to tear down the band’s competitors. Train fans need to get a few Drops of Jupiter tattoos. Train fans need to invent some cute nickname for themselves (Trainers? Soul Sisters and Soul Misters? [I’m just spit balling here]).
Train fans need to put down the wine and chocolates (the band has their own line of both products), forget they’re mature members of civilized society, and start doing some obnoxious fanboy/fangirl stuff to promote their favorite band.
A milquetoast fan base is the only thing separating Train from the other great bands of nineties.
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