Travis, purveyors of the fourth U.K invasion (or is it the fifth? nah, wait, it’s the third), took the stage to a packed Electric Factory crowd on Sept. 8, and went on to deliver a set that matched the enthusiasm of their screaming fans ounce for ounce.
Opening with a trio of songs from 1997’s Good Feeling –“U16 Girls”, “All I Wanna Do Is Rock,” and the title track–they broke into material from the current The Man Who with the beautiful soundscape of “Writing To Reach You.”
That was followed up with the introspective, classic-rock tinged “As You Are.” An exuberant performance of “Turn” came later, and a slew of new tracks followed, including the comforting anthemic tones of “Safe.”
Bathed in blue, yellow and red lights, the band felt no need to rely on flashy visual effects to enhance their performance: the band members’ evident enthusiasm for their music was enough as they jumped, bounced and cavorted around the stage.
Bassist Doug Payne proved to be the most animated of the bunch, smoothly slinking around his side of the stage, bobbing his head joyously to the music, often making comical faces at the crowd.
Guitarist Andy Dunlop proved to be a tad more aggressive, jumping up and down in Pete Townshend form, hurling his guitar about as much as he could without removing the strap from his body.
Frontman Fran Healy was the most subdued, but also the most talkative, addressing the crowd in his charming Scottish brogue every chance he got. “It feels wonderful to sing,” he said at one point. “Animals sing, cats sing, everybody sings.”
Following a deadpan cover of The Band’s classic “The Weight” (“This is a song by an American band, written by a Canadian,” Healy explained), and a sufficient thanking of the crowd, Travis closed off the show with the joyous “Happy.”
As the music and the performance drove to a climax, a slew of setlists and guitar picks were tossed to the masses, and Healy dove offstage, shaking the hands of everybody fortunate enough to be in the front row.
Speculation aside as to weather they are the saviors of rock or the next Beatles or what have you, there are a few things you can say about Travis that can’t be refuted: they love their music, and they love their fans.