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Concert review: Train - Mat Kearney - Andy Grammer

Lars HindsleyBy Lars Hindsley Fri 24 Aug 2012 8:14 PM EST | 2174 Views
PHILADELPHIA (DL)  Lars Hindsley, staff writer for PCM Magazine reviewed a triple bill at The Mann Music Center. In a summer of overwhelming heat and uncomfortably sticky summer nights, Saturday August 18th 2012 was the night to be under the stars at the Mann, or more formerly known as Mann Center for the Performing Arts in West Philly Pennsylvania.  

Andy Grammer

The triple bill lead with Andy Grammer in a short but energetic set, friendly enough for anyone unfamliar with Andy's music.  Considered soft-rock with an R&B edge, I’d also
describe his sound as dignified pop with some jazz inspiration.  Singing with a powerful heart and Andy Grammerinfectious smile, Andy’s tunes had the crowd onboard with upbeat hooks.  Grammer’s short set stretched out to seven songs featuring his latest hopeful hit, Fine By Me which is deserving of top 40 airplay.

If you’ve never been to the Mann Music Center, the open air venue is complete with balcony featuring a semi-out door grassy incline for romantic blanket dwellers where big screens close up visuals light up the night.   Seating 14,000 concert goers the reality is you want an under the terrace  assigned seat.  Of those your best seats are inside row R.  For the best experience I’d advise nothing beyond row R under the terrace overhang as the grass and big screens become a better option.  While the balcony is huge, it too puts you far enough from the stage that the big screen and night sky are a better experience.  Parking can be had for free if you arrive early enough to park outside the center among the locals, but bring cash if you want any of the yummy treats spread about the upper concourse provided by assorted local food venders.  No pre-packaged ice-cream or hot dogs, it’s got that country market approach keeping the ambiance hip.  The Mann even offers a great photo-op location where off in the distance the city of Philadelphia frames an awesome shop anyone would want as a background on their Facebook wall.

Mat Kearney

Mat Kearney live at the Mann Music CenterThe night was young and the weather remained perfect.  A quick twenty minutes later Mat Kearney took  the stage.  Mat Kearny looks a bit like a more svelte John Corbett (many remember him is one of Carrie Bradshaw’s love interests in Sex and the City).   Mat’s music is heartland all the way.  Hailing from Oregon, his blend of a touch of country blues, alt rock and endearing vocals give him a thumbprint you absolutely must witness live to appreciate at Mat’s best.  It’s all evident in Mat’s move from Oregon to Nashville aligning himself with the pulse of what he planned to deliver in time.   In a modern era of youtube marketing, you can get an understanding of his raw talent in videos but a live show is where you’ll love him best.  Mat and his band mates met the audience head on in chemistry delivering an hour mix of his soundtrack hits from Nothing To Lose and Closer To Love while featuring tunes from his latest album Young Love.  Mat managed what appeared a natural impromptu soft rap about Philly and other endearing bits

Seizing energy from the audience Mat left the stage with his wireless microphone and headed up to the lawn high fiving as many audience members as could find him darting through.  As Mat returned to the stage he hopped up on a rail where a 9 year old boy named Dalton wanted no more than any other audience member, just a quick handshake, which then turned into a hand up.  Mat pulled the small boy up with him as he sung and then tugged him along down the aisle to the stage. To the audience and boys bemusement Mat finished his song dancing and swaying giving Dalton a lifelong memory.  I should know, it was my son he performed his  random act of kindness on.

Train

Pat Monahan of TrainTrain concluded the evening as any established headline would rolling out long time hits, but something happened on the way to the station.  Frontman Pat Monahan gave the audience just a little more than they paid for.  Opening up the night, Pat apologized twice, restarting his song and exhibiting a little bit of frustration to himself when seemed to lose his place not once but twice explaining his disappointment in screwing up his new favorite song, 50 Ways To Say Goodbye50 Ways to Say Goodbye features a great mariachi mix with Tijuana brass performed on stage by Jeff Kievit but the polished video on Youtube is one you may want to check out.

Not to be outdone by Kearney, Train brought up a local girl from Philly to sing Bruises.

This was one event you kick yourself for missing. From weather and food to great music with rewarding bonuses throughout the evening, this may have been the best concert of the summer at the Mann.

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