To make up for the fact that I actually blew off a concert last week (Stars), I was sure to attend Travis in concert Sunday night at Portland's Crystal Ball room. If you aren't familiar with Travis, they get compared to Coldplay a lot, but with out the piano driving the songs. Travis are four guys from Scotland that have been around for almost a decade. You can tell that they are pretty good friends and it reflects in their performance and the way they play music together. Despite the seriousness and sophisticated themes in their music, they are all about having fun live. I can tell these guys are going to be playing together for a long time to come.
I first saw Travis in Lawerence with A Forest. Great show. They had a lot of great material to support them and as a extra treat, they even broke out into "Back In Black" for a laugh at the end of show.
This time around they had 5 albums worth of material and drew from some of their stronger songs. It's impossible to hear all the songs I want to hear at a Travis show (because their is so many) but I was pretty happy with the set list. For me, their high points in their performance were with "Side" and closing with "Battleship" and "Why Does it Always Rain On Me?"
First off, the band had one of the coolest openings ever. The lights went out, and the roadies came out and held spot lights at the back of the theater. Then the music of "Rocky" came on. Then the band walked up from the back to the stage in boxer's robes. It kind of reminded me of the opening to U2's Popmart.
Lead singer Fran Healy debuted his mustache for the first time tonight. He said he was inspired by Brandon Flowers (lead singer of the Killers who brought mustached front men into fashion again). He also joked about how different Portland is and how he hasn't seen a normal looking person all day. He called it a city of "Indie kids."
At one point in the show, Fran reached out to shake my hand, or so I thought. It turns out he was shaking the hand of a kid a little older than Woogy, who was standing on his big brother's shoulders behind me. Then at the end of the night, bass player Dougie, hands me the set list, and ask kindly for me to give it to the little boy behind me. I thought if only I had brought Woogy, I could shaken hands with a rock star and taken home the set list. I don't think he's ready yet for rock shows.