O2 Academy, Bournemouth


Well it’s been almost 20 years to the month since the last time I saw Travis live; and here they are back in my home town, to plug their latest musical offering. Supporting them on the entire tour are Minneapolis 4-piece Sarah Walk. I watch open-minded and at times open mouthed – they really are like no other band I’ve seen or heard. At this point I’ll say they’re not my bag, but one cannot question their musicianship. I just don’t understand how the vocals fit with the music – it all seems (to me) rather disjointed. Tim (drums) has a unique style while Sarah (piano/vox) sings in a very personal way, haunting at times. Lenny’s bass is prevalent throughout while Joe (guitar) is pretty much motionless. They are basically a Shoegaze band visually (but not musically) – all the elements are here; a strong vocal accompanied by competent musicianship, yet for me they just don’t excite. The chatter between and during their songs I’m afraid tells its own story, yet they receive generous applause and I wish them well.

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And so to the headliners. With a stage set-up based on the artwork from new LP “Everything at Once”; Travis take to the stage, one by one. They launch into the title track of said LP energetically, and it’s as if they’ve never been away. Fran’s voice has aged well and he sounds as clear and audible as ever. Looking around me this crowd have clearly stayed with the band through the years – there’ll be no moshpit in the O2 tonight! Nevertheless, they are responsive throughout and the band clearly get off on it. “Selfish Jean” follows and induces the first of many singalongs. “Coming Around” is immense and Fran takes every opportunity to explain the song origins, at times evoking an unnecessary nervousness. Dougie (bass) and Fran bounce off each other with their between song banter; while Andy (guitars) is chief shapeshifter, cavorting his frame into some strange positions.

When they play “Driftwood” the whole room simply comes alive in voice. Before “Animals” Fran gives a passionate delivery once again about the song origins and comes across quite humble. He needn’t be, this band have paid their dues and are where they deserve to be. (I must congratulate the punter to my right at this point, who manages to talk through the entire set, you sir are a legend/moron – delete as appropriate)!! I don’t know if “Idlewild” is a reference to their fellow Scots, or just another song title? Either way, it’s a great song. With this crowd well and truly warmed up it’s the classics that they’ve come to hear and sing along to. “Sing” is a highlight while they save their best two songs ’til last. Another verbal introduction is impeccably observed for set highlight “All I Want to Do Is Rock” – they deliver the song with passion and gusto and frankly draw every ounce of energy from within. They leave us on an old favourite “Turn” and this room again finds its voice. And with that they leave the stage.

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Long, loud applause greet them as they return for a 3 song encore that will live long in the memory. Fran wanders to the front of the stage alone; asks for silence, then acoustically sings a heartfelt “Flowers in The Window”; where he encourages us to respond with the chorus. It really is a “hairs on the back of the neck moment”. On latest single “Magnificent Time” we are encouraged to do “the dance” (as demonstrated in the video). Fran gives a quick choreography lesson and the whole crowd join in. It really is a sight to behold. Where else could they possibly leave us than with “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?”‘ One last singalong and we’re done. For those, myself included, who thought their best days might be behind them think again, Travis proved tonight they are still a force to be reckoned with. They still have the energy and on this performance the songs as well. The title of the new single kinda sums it up-tonight we had a Magnificent Time, and long may that continue!

Set List
Everything at Once
Selfish Jean
Coming Around
Writing to Reach You
Love Will Come Through
My Eyes
Where You Stand
3 Miles High
All I Want to do is Rock

Flowers in the Window
Magnificent Time
Why Does It Always Rain on Me?


Words by Ross A Ferrone.
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite.

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