16 April 2013 (gig)
17 April 2013
Mid-way through this impressive two hour return to London, Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas has a reminisce about his youth - remembering those days of (illegally) home taping music from the radio (his patter comes before they play Radio from their latest album North).
His reflections certainly hit home if the cheers are any indication. And this nostalgic reflection seems apt, as the band's performance feels like something from years gone by. There are uncool guitar solos, simple but effective songs from a very white collar American rock band. There's nothing very 2013 about their music.
But that doesn't matter to a packed Hammersmith Apollo - as they dance and clap to songs that a British rock band would never produce. Quite why these isles don't produce bands like this is a mystery. This is a US band doing what the Stones wish they still could - producing effective chart rock (if only in America). There's even a Stones' cover in the encore as they perform Jumpin' Jack Flash.
The fact that much of the set list features songs from their debut album Yourself Or Someone Like You - is a little telling. The likes of 3AM, Long Day, Back To Good and the finale of Push are all enthusiastically received. But current album North is plundered too - and there are some good songs. The terrific Parade opens the night impressively and new single Overjoyed lends a mellower moment. Of the new songs - the moody English Town stands out, though. It's the sort of song that bands like this do best; slow building power rock.
The seventies rock feel of the night is underlined with a Faces interlude during So Sad So Lonely, as Stay With Me is interwoven into the night's best song. It displays the band is at their thunderous best. Kyle Cook is excellent on guitar and Paul Doucette likewise on rhythm guitar and percussion. They might not be the coolest of bands - but tonight they make this English town rock in good old fashioned style - and it's quite refreshing to see it.