Travis: There should be extra marks for consistency
April 5, 2009 § 1 Comment
Some bands have been around forever, many of which only ever get one hit and that’s it. They spend their days forever playing that song in their grey-hair to people who only came to the gig at the casino for that one hit; they don’t know the other tunes. There are the bands that never got the one hit, but keep playing to the regulars. Finally, there are bands like Scotland’s Travis, who have touched success many times, but mildly, not to supersonic status. They’re not explosive, like a drug-addled group that put out one album and collapsed under success, but they aren’t the grey-haired one hit wonder either. Travis are solid and reliable, like a Chevy truck, which to say in the world of rock n’ roll is unusual. The band has a degree of dignity, that is enviable and they handle their success with an intimate ease regarding the crowd. While some of their albums are better than others, generally speaking, every Travis album is better than most albums out there and a joy to hear. While some people can praise a band for making one excellent album and then falling into “the sophomore slump” as they call it, Travis have never had that problem. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not calling them mediocre either–they’re a talented group–they’ve never had that problem of a crummy album. 12 Memories started out as the only album I didn’t like initially, but it definitely grew on me and now I love the dark schizo atmosphere. The Boy With No Name is my least favourite Travis album, yet, it contains one of my favourite songs of theirs, “Battleships”. Fran Healy has an angelic voice, with some of the loveliest vocal melodies ever.
Travis were blessed in that they came when Britpop was on the downward slide, and their music acted as a sort of bridge, borrowing from Britpop but looking to the future of music. They’re timeless in many ways, as they don’t really fit into any trend. Sure, they’re a rock band, and exist amongst that history, but they’ve never belonged exclusively to any genre or trend and it’s difficult to make comparisons or try to describe them to someone who hasn’t heard them.
On that note, I have to say after seeing them play last night at the sold out show in Vancouver (after missing them a criminal three times), that it was one of the best rock shows I’ve seen. My experience was probably helped by the fact I was centre with only one person standing in front of me, even so, Fran’s joking with the audience and then later entering the audience with the world’s longest mic cable, Andy’s climbing on top of an amp stack while playing a solo, Doug’s good natured pumping on bass and Neil’s banging a gong, made this an excellent show. It’s refreshing to see a band so willing to smile when they’re having a good time. The crowd seemed to pick up on this energy, because it was one of the most agreeable crowds I’ve been in. People would apologize for knocking into you, move aside for your friend and sing along with gusto–way cooler than moshing or standing still looking fashionably bored.
The whole crowd was doing the pogo during the finale, “Why Does it Always Rain on Me”, it was pretty surreal and well worth my limbs crumbling. Despite my yelling for them to play “Battleships”, I had to live with the one disappointment.
I only wish I had the brains to bring a camera! I was in the perfect spot! Fran walked right past me when he entered the audience.
All in all, I was well-impressed, but the t-shirts were overpriced!
I’ve checked Youtube, there are no videos from the show last night up yet. Too bad.
If you’re wondering where the photos came from, Travis’ website has a section for people to post photos. I just jacked a few.