While it's a nice enough listen with a few genuine highlights, the latest record from Travis, The Boy With No Name, never quite fired me up to buy tickets to their show here in Atlanta last night. But when free tickets fell into my hands on Saturday, there was no excuse not to head down to The Tabernacle to swelter in the heat and catch a band that used to captivate me on a regular basis. By the time the gig was over, I felt more than a little guilty that I hadn't purchased my tickets, at full price, the day they went on sale.
I simply had forgotten, after a good five or six years, what a tremendous live act these guys are. And on this particular night, in front of a smallish but adoring crowd that sang along to every word, they positively slayed, with the live setting giving many of Fran Healey's gloriously melodic tunes an urgency and edge (and some sheer volume) that their new album frankly could use a bit more of. And what tunes, too. The newer material sounded mighty fine, and the older songs -- especially "Writing To Reach You", "Turn" and "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" from their best-ever album, 2000's The Man Who . . . -- struck me as something like timeless. They even busted out their classic Britney Spears cover -- which Fran said they were playing for the first time in ages -- and closed with a note-perfect version of "Back In Black". Yes, that "Back In Black".
In short, it wasn't just a good show; it was among the very best I've seen this year. The moral of the story: Whenever Scotland's favorite sons come to your town, don't you dare miss 'em.
MP3: Travis - "Battleships" from The Boy With No Name
Bonus MP3: Travis - "Baby, One More Time" (live at Glastonbury, 2000)