[Post updated Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.]
Unless this is some kind of early and ill-timed April fool's joke on us, the week of April 10, 2012, will bring a bland and terrible horror to many hallowed local stages: Train, the San Francisco embarrassment, wine-shilling ruse, and mom-pop juggernaut, is apparently performing that week at Cafe Du Nord (April 10), Great American Music Hall (April 11), Bimbo's (April 12), Slim's (April 13), the Independent (April 14), and the Fillmore (April 15).
What to make of this? Surely the charm offensive is a marketing ploy for Train's new album, the blankly titled California 37, which sees release the following Tuesday. But this isn't the first time Patrick Monahan and his band of bores have held court at a San Francisco venue far smaller than their normal arenas. In 2004, Train melted hearts for five nights in a row at Cafe Du Nord to support My Private Nation, and as you'll see from our predecessor's recap, it was a triumphant affair deserving of reverence and adoration. Ahem.
Still, in 2012, Train is arguably an even bigger success than it was in the heady days that followed Drops of Jupiter's creep to ubiquity. As we recently explored, the band's 2009 album Save Me San Francisco launched it back into the (albeit fractured) heights of adult pop in the early 21st Century, which means Train once more became the preferred soundtrack of supermarkets and discount-clothing retailers from Fresno to Tallahassee, and got played on the radio enough times to drive some of us absolutely fucking crazy.
None of the band's cheesy come-ons to San Francisco had any seductive powers on the last record. (We tried.) Will they in April, when Monahan (who now lives in a Seattle suburb) and Co. shrink their sweet nothings to fit inside real local rock clubs? To put it more mildly than we've ever put anything about Train: We're skeptical.