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by Andrew Spoors

WITH the weather beating down outside, American rockers Goo Goo Dolls warmed the O2 academy and its packed audience with their smooth brand of alternative rock.

Considered one of America’s darling bands, the Goo Goo Dolls have never really hit the mainstream here for whatever reason and only threatened to hit the British consciousness with global smash hit Iris.

Accustomed to playing sell-out stadiums and across the Pond, the modest surroundings of the O2 gave fans the chance to get up close and personal to Buffalo’s heroes.

Kicking the night off was Glaswegian formed quintet Unkle Bob, delivering their own style of melodic rock.

The band rose to the challenge and performed remarkably well, winning over a very student orientated audience by the end of the set. The band has already featured on US hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy, speaking volumes for the potential and talent they obviously possess.

The main event didn’t disappoint either – lead singer John Rzeznik and co delivered a slice of delicious American pie that went down a treat. Their set consisted of all the hits any fan could hope for with Black Balloon, Slide and Big Machine all receiving rapturous receptions.

Bassist Robby Takac took the lead vocals for a handful of tracks to prove this is no one man band and he dovetailed perfectly with solid performances from drummer Mike Malinin and the backing musicians.

And if a stunning rendition of Name wasn’t enough to bring the house down, a spectacular performance of Iris certainly did.

For a band of this calibre to be a year away from reaching a quarter of a century of playing together and not be recognised in this country is almost scandalous.

But for the lucky and weather hardened audience that crammed into the Academy, here’s to another 25 years of Americana rock at its best.
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