Resistance, naturally, is useless...
Quash those qualms and stack those preconceptions neatly by the door, for tonight, doubters, Travis are The Invincible Band; a 24ct pop machine forged from the inarguable, unstoppable power of the Top Tune.
The mechanics are impeccable. To your left, ladies and gentlemen, is Dougie Payne, the coconut-bonced bassist with the mostest. To your right, boys and girls, is fun-sized guitar-god Andy Dunlop. In the middle, you’ll find all-singing, all-scissor-kicking pop elf Fran Healy, while bringing up the rear (and providing that all-important beard element) is piston-packing drummer Neil Primrose. Solid. Reliable. Guaranteed not to date Amanda De Cadanet. They may not sport the spotty insouciance of The Strokes, but the Travis group dynamic is as essential to their success as their songs, of which, it should be stated, every one’s a winner, baby (and that’s no lie).
‘All I Wanna Do Is Rock’ surges with swollen-crotched promise, while both ‘Sing’ and the ineffably beautiful ‘Writing To Reach You’ lilt and sway like lovesick lap-dogs. Sincerity is a rare commodity in rock but these homecoming heroes have it in huge, platinum-plated spades.
While ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me’ is dedicated to [I]”all the mums”[/I], a curtain-bearing childhood photos of the band appears in front of the stage during the deliciously woozy ‘Humpty Dumpty Song.’ If this was Coldplay we’d be barfing up our sleeves. In Travis’ woolly mitts, though, we’re cooing like menopausal midwives.
As closer ‘Happy’ gambols and grins high above our heads and an emotional Fran tells us we’re [I]”the best fucking people in the world,”[/I] we’re left with a startling, but unshakeable realisation: Travis are beyond criticism. We may carp about their pretty, Radio 2-approved songs and stifle sniggers at their housewife-friendly non-image, but Travis can – and will – withstand such petty snipery. They are the cockroaches of rock; a band whose very existence makes a mockery of the vagaries of fashion. As nu-metal continues to bore itself into early retirement, these enormo-talented pop-smiths will be strumming until the four horsemen of the Apocalypse drag them, kicking and
squealing, into the firmament.
The zeitgeist may be carried on the greasy shoulders of five cock-sure New Yorkers but tonight, Travis posited a water-tight case for rock’s heart being borne by four unassuming Elton John fans from Glasgow. Resistance, naturally, is useless.