One word - Wow!!

I’ve seen Travis quite a few times now and in venues of varying sizes, and for my money they are simply unbeatable live.

They may not be the most fashionable band, in fact I’d go as far as saying it’s now strictly unfashionable to admit you are a Travis fan but I would gladly go and see them play every night of the week.

The criticism normally levied at their albums is that their music is too soft, too safe and too samey.  Anyone thinking like that should go see them live, they will rock your socks off!

With a new album on the horizon (Ode to J Smith - out today, 29th September 2008) it must have been pretty hard to decide which songs to play - what balance between old songs and new songs should they settle on?  As with any audience, the expectation is always high to hear your favourite song from the past and any new, and as yet unheard, material is destined to go unaided by a crowd singalong.

In the end, the band ploughed through four or five songs from the new album but all were gratefully received by the onlooking crowd despite being unable to lend a hand vocally.  The new songs certainly don’t lack any pace or excitement in their sound and a few are likely to stick around the setlist for years to come.

Travis seem to be in a very good place at the moment, with everyone firing on all cylinders.  The guitars on the new songs are absolutely amazing with Fran and Andy doing sterling work, together with Dougie playing bass as well as ever.  Even Neil on the drums seems to have found a new lease of life.

Mixed in were the crowd pleasing favourites of albums gone by and these only served to reinforce the fact that few are as good at pumping out thoughtful melodies as Fran is.

The ever welcome Flowers in The Window was given a twist with Fran performing it solo on acoustic guitar, surrounded by his bandmates providing backing vocals all around the one mic.  At one point Fran even handed over guitar playing duties to Dougie and Andy - even though it was still hung around his neck, Andy did the fretwork and Dougie took care of the strumming.  Perhaps a pretty pointless gimmick, but it brought a smile to most faces and was a welcome change from the norm.

The only reason anyone left ABC disappointed on Friday night would have been because the show had to eventually come to an end - I for one would have happily watched them play on for another couple of hours.  All good things come to an end though, and as usual it was Why Does it Always Rain on Me? which was the signal that the end was nigh.

Everyone has a song which they simply can’t leave out and this is definitely that song for Travis - nothing is guaranteed to make the crowd pogo than that chorus!

All in all, a brilliant night - can’t wait to hear the new album now, and also can’t wait to see them again!