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July 13, 2007

Travis: Bank of America Pavilion, Boston MA 7.12.07


For those of you who don't know: Travis is a UK band. Not just one guy. And no one in the band is named Travis.

I guess it's appropriate that I chose to cover their show this week, because I just realized I've always had a thing for music from the UK. When I was much younger, I was obsessed with Bush; today, some of my favorite bands are The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys, and Keane, and I seem to keep finding more great UK bands every week. I've been a fan of Travis for a few years now, so I was excited when I found out I'd finally get to see them live. They haven't toured in the US for several years, and the Boston show at the Bank of America Pavilion was the second stop on their new US tour promoting their recent album, "The Boy With No Name."

The opener was John Paul White, a rocker from Alabama. He played an acoustic guitar and was backed only by one other guitarist on an electric. He had a strong voice and the music had a fairly dark sound, almost like it would be considered hard rock if it were played with a full band. I was questioning the choice of making this duo the opener for Travis, who usually plays light and upbeat music, but I found similarities between the two bands at the end of John Paul White‚s set. He played a solo acoustic cover song that is featured on the most recent soundtrack from „The OC,‰ and on this song, he displayed his high vocal range and sounded a little like the lead singer of Travis. I‚ll listen to anything Seth Cohen will listen to, but I was ready for Travis.

Seeing bands that make memorable concert entrances is a rare occurrence for me, so I can always appreciate a band who tries something different. When the lights were dimmed, a group of people came onto the stage with huge flashlights. The „Rocky‰ theme started playing, which was their cue to begin their choreographed flashlight waving. Nobody could figure out whether this was the band or not, until everyone realized there were spotlights shining on the back of the venue. The 5 members of Travis (there are normally 4, but they had a keyboardist in the lineup tonight) emerged, made their way through the crowd as if they were triumphant Italian Stallions themselves, and climbed onstage right next to me.


Fran, the lead singer, showed that it was acceptable to wear a band t-shirt to a concert, since he was wearing his own band‚s t-shirt. The front of the shirt said „Art, Music, Jaffa Cakes,‰ the last of which I assumed was some sort of UK thing I wouldn‚t understand unless I Googled it (FYI: Jaffa Cake = chocolate-covered, orange-jelly-topped sponge cake). They played a new song called „Selfish Jean,‰ which is the epitome of the upbeat, jangly-guitar sound you‚d expect from Travis. I was immediately impressed with how good his voice sounded live, so I was already expecting this to be a great show during the first song. The third and final song of my stint in the photo pit was my favorite of theirs ˆ „Writing To Reach You‰ ˆ so I was very excited and almost forgot to take pictures. It was obvious that I wasn‚t the only Travis fan in the group of photographers I was with, since they were all dancing, singing along, and sometimes neglecting their cameras, too.


As if the 7th-row-center ticket I received wasn‚t good enough, I was waved over to the front row once I left the photo pit. I was surprised to see empty seats in the venue, but as the show went on I realized that it didn‚t take away from the energy of the show at all. The fans that were there were entirely engaged in the music, especially the kid on the isle of the section next to mine, who had an interpretive dance for nearly every song. During „Driftwood,‰ his drunken attempt at trying to make himself resemble „driftwood floating underwater, breaking into pieces, pieces, pieces‰ was so convincing that I hardly watched the band. They played a good mix of old and new songs, slowing it down with songs like the older „As You Are,‰ but mostly displaying their upbeat pop side with songs likes the newer „My Eyes.‰ Before they started „Good Feeling,‰ Fran introduced the keyboardist, Claus, who was from Sweden and had „pop running through his veins.‰ The crowd then enthusiastically
followed his directions to chant Claus‚s name and point during the solo part they added into the song for him. At one point, Fran introduced a song from their new album called „Battleships‰ with the enlightening statement that „a relationship is a ship you have relations in.‰ The band had a great sense of humor and was surprisingly high-energy, with Fran constantly jumping around the stage, and the rest of the members always dancing around and looking happy. The crowd was equally energetic, especially during songs like „Sing,‰ „All I Want To Do Is Rock,‰ and „Turn,‰ when the entire audience was singing along. At the end of „Turn,‰ as the band left the stage for their encore break, Fran threw his guitar in the air, caught it, dropped it, and then skipped offstage. When they came back out, they played an acoustic version of „Flowers In The Window,‰ which is quite possibly their sappiest, jangliest (which is definitely not a real word) pop song, with only an acoustic guitar and a
tambourine. They looked like a group of happy kids singing at a party as they stood in a group with their arms around each other. Their last song of the night was „Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" which ended with the band instructing the audience to jump up and down for the entire final chorus.

Overall, it was a truly great concert. Because of the quality of the lead singer‚s voice and the energy of the band that makes even their slower songs livelier, Travis is definitely one of those bands that sounds 100 times better live than on their albums. If you need some upbeat Brit-pop/rock in your life, definitely check out Travis.

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You are so clever Melissa. I am going to download Travis music because of your intriguing post. PS you're hot ;)


"I'll listen to anything Seth Cohen will listen to..."

mmmmm me too.


Another great job! I could totally get a visual of the band and the fans. And any music from the OC is OK with me!


Another great job! I could totally get a visual of the band and the fans. And any music from the OC is OK with me!


the UK is calling your nameeeeee


Travis was awesome! You described the show just as it was, it was a great show and they were funny, the guitarist in front of section 1 was out of control when he jumped off stage and laid down on the floor!


never heard of this band before, and now I'm listening to their myspace. thanks for the great review!


Excellent coverage Ms. Buckley. Very well done. And I thought Travis wasn't that good, now I'm goin to get the CD tomorrow...can't wait!


you are quite the music reporter melissa. keep up the great work, i love reading your articles and looking at your amazing pictures!


love the lighting in your shots, especially the one with the white light. awesome photography, good posting..nice work overall. keep it up miss.


Never heard of these guys but maybe I'll check them out.


I was at the show you made it sound just right! Great show put on by Travis! Cheers!


never heard of travis until now...you make me want to find out more about them :)


i love your pictures...and blog...keep the coming


agreed, i have just read almost all of these and they are amazing! Keep it going!!! Loving all your pictures and writing!!


sweet pics, I love travis about time they toured again!


you described this perfectly i was at the show!


i've loved travis for years. good article.


nice job


this post was better than the origanl, love Travis! Nice Pictures!


I wish i could see travis, too bad theyre always in the UK


That Travis show was awesome


That Travis show was awesome


another awesome blog w/amazing pictures! cant beleive this is a phone!!!

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