Travis at Q The Music Club
A Fedora-ed Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop are onstage playing their ‘party piece’. They have ditched the convention of going offstage, waiting for the crowd to bay for more, so eager are they to play this encore.
The chugging guitars give way to Healy’s opening line “This was never the way I planned ….” and I Kissed A Girl is instantly absorbed into the Travis canon of brilliantly unlikely covers which has famously included Britney’s Baby … One More Time. Even the moment where the singer briefly forgets the words is amiably forgiven by the crowd at the Hard Rock Café, Q The Music Club’s intimate new venue, such is the conviction with which the duo deliver the track, a highlight in a show littered with them.
For Travis, this is a chance to show off latest album, Ode To J. Smith, an overdue return to the rougher hewn approach of their debut album, before it all went a bit soft rock and they sold albums by the millions. The gig - like the album - begins with Chinese Blues, an effortless stream of Gimme Shelter-like energy and the sort of thing which Oasis have strived for years to create. The almost title track J. Smith is an explosive rock opera in just three minutes with Dunlop hunched over, almost doubled up, to wring the sound from his guitar.
Even some of the hits have been toughened. Side is fuzzed-up, Writing To Reach You crackles and Turn soars. They may have played these songs hundreds of times, but they play with the joy of a band playing their first ever gig. “I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much,” Healy observes. Even show closer Why Does It Always Rain On Me is turned into a chance to pogo (“the most ancient dance in the world, invented by cavemen,” according to the frontman), leaving the audience on a high.
You can catch highlights of the show in Q Radio’s Q Sessions on October 20.