Last week, Filter magazine launched its first annual Culture Collide festival, a four-day spree of bands from all over the world (including the Klaxons, White Lies, Black Lips, Revolver, Sebastien Tellier, and Mariachi El Bronx) convening at four Echo Park-area clubs in Los Angeles. A good time was had by all, but the best bet of the fest was Sunday's free block party, at which Jenny & Johnny (aka Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice), Tokyo Police Club (assisted by special guest Jeff from Passion Pit), Sea Wolf, and others entertained scenester locals.
The highlight of the block party, however, took place not on L.A.'s city streets but inside the Echo Park Methodist Church--where Travis frontman Fran Healy, in town to promote his just-released solo debut, Wreckorder, performed in the evening for many packed pew-fuls of worshipping fans.
Fran's 45-minute acoustic set - featuring both Travis tunes ('Writing To Reach You', 'Sing', 'Dear Diary', 'Driftwood') and new solo songs ('Buttercups', 'Sing Me To Sleep', 'As It Comes') in between amusing anecdotes about Noel Gallagher, Neko Case, Paul McCartney, the professional sheep in his 'Buttercups' video, and how 'Sing' was initially titled 'Swing' until he worried listeners might think the tune was about wife-swapping - was practically a religious experience for the attending Travis devotees, who braved the church's stuffy, non-air-conditioned confines, gave Fran a standing ovation at the end, and lined up to take photos with the man like parishioners ready to take communion.
Of course, a few concertgoers were not quite as reverent, but Fran - who swore frequently in church without a second thought throughout his set -stopped his second song to quip, "Shut the fuck up! Fucking hipsters! I'm from Glasgow. Don't mess with the 'Wegies!"
Sorry if this sounds blasphemous... but Fran's gig was probably the best Sunday church service I've ever attended.