Concert Review: Travis, September 25, Sound Academy

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It takes a lot for me to consider a show at the Sound Academy. In my 15+ years of attending concerts in Toronto, I can count how many times I’ve been to the Sound Academy on one hand. It’s just so damn far, in the middle of nowhere, and the venue itself isn’t even good (poor sound!). But I digress. What I’m saying is that I have to really like a band to go there.

Funnily enough, the first time I went to the Sound Academy was the last time Travis played in Toronto, in 2009. (Lead singer Fran Healy did stop by the Mod Club in 2010 for a solo tour.) This band has a special place in my heart, as one of the first bands I really loved. I collected all their CD singles (back when bands released two singles in the UK for several songs per album, which would include two b-sides per single), waited outside MuchMusic so that I could sit in the studio audience during live interviews and one time, when I was naive and fearless at 18, took a Greyhound bus alone from Guelph to Toronto for their Massey Hall show. After the show, I took a ride with two total strangers back to Guelph and we drove around aimlessly, completely lost, about two hours. Oh, and I also have the most random keepsake: Fran Healy’s discarded shoe insole that he removed from his shoe during a show and tossed off the stage during the encore. Two years later, I met the band and proudly presented the insole to Fran, which he signed for me and proclaimed, “You’ve got my sole!” [that’s a play on the word “soul,” in case you missed it.]

As I got older, I began to expand my horizons to other bands, and I became less of a superfan. But The Man Who will probably always be one of my favourite albums.

The four members of Travis were met with loud cheers when they emerged onstage at the Sound Academy on Wednesday. Healy apologetically acknowledged that it had been a long time since they’d played Toronto (four years). But it’s understandable, since their latest album, Where You Stand, is actually their first in five years. The set began with new song “Mother” – the refrain “why did we wait so long?” seemed appropriate.

Older songs were expectedly well-received by the audience – “Sing,” “Driftwood,” “Writing to Reach You” and “Slide Show” were highlights (among others!). Aside from the newer songs, the set list allowed for maximum audience singalongs. “You all sing beautifully,” declared Healy at one point.

The best moment of the show was during the encore, when the band huddled around Healy’s main mic to sing “Flowers in the Window,” with just Healy on acoustic guitar and drummer Neil Primrose with a tambourine. The show closed with, arguably their most popular and well-known tune, “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?”

While I may not be a superfan anymore, Travis is still a band that I really love. I mean, I like them enough that I braved the Sound Academy (again!) to see them. And you know what? I probably would again.

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Posted on by Wini Lo in Concerts

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