What rail strike - Fast Trains will be arriving at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea for not one show but two on Saturday

Fast Trains at Icebreaker Festival 2022. Picture: Paul Windsor
Fast Trains at Icebreaker Festival 2022. Picture: Paul Windsor

​And so it is with their forthcoming hometown shows – their first in a while.

Fast Trains is the vehicle for singer-songwriter Tom Wells’ pigeon-hole-defying and world-building material. And he will be playing two shows in one day at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea – a solo acoustic matinee, and a full-band show with a different set in the evening.

Depending on the circumstances, Fast Trains can and do play in either format, but it is the first time Tom has tried doing both in one day.

The solo iteration of Fast Trains, performing to a packed out The Vaults during Icebreaker Festival in February 4, 2023. Picture by Paul Windsor
The solo iteration of Fast Trains, performing to a packed out The Vaults during Icebreaker Festival in February 4, 2023. Picture by Paul Windsor

“I've got two different touring shows and some people prefer it one way, and some people prefer it the other. Some people haven't seen it as a full band, some people haven't seen it solo.

“The afternoon one is going to be seated and more family-oriented and relaxed and chilled and some people like it when I do that show – that's more like the version I took on the Turin Brakes tour,” Tom supported the indie-folk stars on several dates last year, “breaking the songs down to their bare bones, chatting through who I am and what the songs are about – it's more intimate.

"And then some people just want to have the party and have it sound a bit more like the records – bigger productions, with a full band behind it and it's got that power that the band brings to it.

"They're very different and it's nice having two different shows as it opens up lots of opportunities and gigs that I couldn't do if I didn't have the band, and I couldn't do if I didn't have the solo version, so it's nice to do a day where I can go: here's both shows! I say that now... but I'm going to be knackered that evening!”

With three EPs currently under their belt, Tom also promises the day will feature plenty of new songs, including those from Fast Trains’ forthcoming debut album.

“And the evening's going to have different supports to the afternoon,” he adds, “they're very distinctly different gigs.”

But to get everyone up to speed, Tom has finally been releasing Fast Trains’ back catalogue onto streaming services. So far they have only been available on YouTube, Bandcamp or in physical formats.

From June he has been uploading a track a week, in chronological order while telling the stories behind the songs on his social media.

"I went three and a bit years without having anything on streaming services and I knew I was going to do it eventually, but the timing had to be right, and I wanted to do something a bit different.

"So, for 16 weeks in a row it's been a new song each week – I've gone through my whole back catalogue and it's been really interesting going back and revisiting the songs. I'm not really one to look backwards, but this felt really nice to do – looking back at the old photographs and the things that were said at the time and trying to remember what kid of headspace I was in.

"It's been a surprisingly nice process, I thought it was going to be difficult. But it's been nice to see how I've developed – I'm a very different person and therefore different songwriter now to what I was when I started it.

“When I did the tour at the end of last year and then I did a few solo dates at the start of this year, I brought on a new fanbase who had no idea who I was and what I'd done off the back of the Turin Brakes stuff, so bringing them up to speed on how I got from A to B to C has been a nice way of getting everyone on the same page.

“It's been really rewarding picking it apart. I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to that stuff, the songwriting and production stuff, it's been nice to pick it apart and give people an insight to that side of it too. When you put a song out you go: ‘Here's a new song, go listen to it!’ It's very hard to go: ‘Here's a new song – there's an interesting chord change there... and there's a strange backwards noise in there,’ and all that kind of stuff. But you can do that when you look back and it gives people another reason to go and listen again.

"Hopefully,” he laughs.

“There's that old adage that you shouldn't explain too much what a song is about so the listener can make up their own minds, but when you're writing something more personal or direct, I think it can be important that you do tell people sometimes.”

Tom and the band are currently working on the debut album: “We're about half way through it. We've stepped back a bit to prepare for these shows, which has been a nice break. I went back in and listened to what we’ve done so far the other day and thought they were good, so that's a decent sign that I'm on to something!"

Aida Heston and deer ray support at the matinee, while Waif & Stray and Conor Clements support in the evening.

Doors at 2pm and 7.30pm on Saturday. Tickets cost £4 for the afternoon and £8 for the evening, or £10 for both.

Go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk.