Meghan Trainor review – retro charm brings the house down

The Ritz, Manchester
With her catchy blend of doo-wop, squeaky soul and Dolly Partonesque kitsch, Trainor proves herself a true pro who is surely arena-bound

“She’s had 750m YouTube hits … Meghan Trainor!” shouts a prerecorded voice as the 21-year-old star bounds on to the stage. Trainor may be best known so far for her 2014 global smash  All About That Bass, but this energetic hour-long show suggests she isn’t going away. Everything she does or says is met by a chorus of loud screaming.

“This song’s about the time I saw my ex-boyfriend out with his new girlfriend,” she says. Cue deafening boos. “He wasn’t wearing his jeans because I borrowed them.” Cue rapturous applause and howls of laughter. n a dark top and glittery skirt – which she replaces with another, more glittery skirt – there’s something refreshing about Trainor’s ordinary size and celebration of regular-shaped females. As she sings: “I ain’t no size two, but I can shake it.” Feminists may recoil at the lyrics of songs such as Dear Future Husband, and sentiments such as “Daddy knows I’m a good girl”, but she is the epitome of endearing, girl-next-door, almost 1950s charm.

There’s certainly nothing envelope-pushing about her formulaic but catchy blend of doo-wop, slightly squeaky retro-soul and Dolly Partonesque kitsch (she has her face printed on the drumkit). However, Trainor is a true pro, who knows her audience – vulnerable teenage girls – and milks it ruthlessly but charmingly. “You’re all beautiful!” she trills. During a technical hitch, she retrieves the situation by hauling two 14-year-olds on stage and leading a chorus of Happy Birthday to her “Meghantrons”.

Huge red lips flash behind her for second single Lips Are Movin, and 3am sounds like another hit. “You make me feel like I’m in an arena,” she yells, which may be where she’ll end up. During All About That Bass, there’s so much booty-shaking in the house that one fears for the building.

• At The Institute, Birmingham (0121-643 0428), on 11 April; O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London (020-8354 3300), on 13 April.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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