This post sat as a draft for a wee whiley, with the thought of a new behind-the-scene migration prompting publication before my confessional was lost for good. It was written one slightly tipsy evening in early December.
Two weeks ago, I was the happiest I’ve been for a long time.
Contrapunctal Bach may be stimulating, Dave Brubeck can keep on going for another 80-something years, Evelyn Glennie and her golden jacket may mesmerise me, The Shins could well play in my living room, but there is no band in the world that makes me dance like Travis.
No band in the world has that much on-stage energy and charisma1. They can play the cavernous SECC in Glasgow like it’s the Barrowlands. They can play a cold-old crowd like it’s a jumping hive of randy teenagers. They are the ONLY band on Earth who can run in to the blardy Rocky theme tune and not get shouted down for being tossers. They are the ONLY band anywhere in the universe that can get me to pogo in public. But more of that later.
Showmen to the last, even if their style has not changed in a decade. I think P is a bit jealous of Dougie Payne’s slight cocksureness, picking away at his bass. And we’re both ever-so-boggled by Andy Dunlop’s intimacy with his guitar (and also a little bit more than awed at his talent, natch). Hidden at the back, but never forgotten, I think we both subconsciously bop our heads along with Neil Primrose. Are all drummers always that relaxed? And of course, frontman+songwriter Fran Healy is not only easy on the eye but also the ears.
We’re long time fans of the band, post Glass Onion days. Good Feeling and The Man Who were both soundtracks to our undergrad and postgrad years in the lab. Which made it SO hard to listen to them for a few years after thesis submission. Fortunately, The Invisible Band came along and cheered us up again. I challenge you to find anyone who hates Sing on first listen (20,000 times later might give a different outcome). 12 Memories was.. different. A little more raw, a little more emotive, and chimed perfectly, yet again, with how we were feeling at the time: uncertain, frustrated, a little angry at the world in general. And their latest album, The Boy With No Name is another keeper. Somehow, the marketing over in the US is not very penetrative. If I hadn’t sought the album out, I’d never have heard the poppy masterpiece that is Selfish Jean.
That was a brilliant song to start the concert with. Really gets you up and jiving. (Sorry, I used the word “jive” in the 21st century.) Only two other songs from the 5th album were played that night, with the rest of the concert filled by the extensive back catalogue. A few rockers, a few plaintive, but all brilliant. And one truly acoustic acoustic, slightly marred by over-zealous security guards. The finale, WDIARON, remains the only song I will ever willingly jump up and down like a headless chicken for.
The set list as stolen from the website and copy-edited:
-Eyes Wide Open
-Writing to Reach You
-Love Will Come Through
-As You Are
-All I Wanna do is Rock
E: 20 -unplugged
E: Flowers in the Window
E: Humpty Dumpty
E: Why Does it Always Rain on Me?
So there, I’ve outed myself. I pogo in public.
1 Well, you may beg to differ. I’m not budging.
2 Looking through some of the photos posted on the tour archives, does the band ever take photos with anyone other than pretty girls? Just curious, like…