Any chance you get to see one of the greatest lyricists of this generation, it's always a treat. Tonight was no exception. Travis's music always lended itself well to an acoustic setup, so I was eager to see how Fran's new solo effort would work itself into the established fold of the band's oft-revered catalogue of tunes.
The absence of an opening act made the anticipation all the more palpable. But the wait was worth it. Fran came out in his usual carefree frock, hat in tow. It was as if he leapt straight out of the promotional poster and onto the stage. The show was everything that was promised - Brand new tracks seamlessly mixed in with Travis hits of yore. While concertgoers reacted with glee to the familiar melodies of 'Driftwood', 'Sing', and the ubiquitous 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?', they were equally receptive to the new material. Forthcoming single "Buttercups" and the poignant "As It Comes" easily earned the audience's approval. Fran even went it alone and performed his duet with Neko Case, claiming the falsetto highground as his own.
Healy, ever the storyteller, regaled the audience with anecdotes on how the music came to be, with the occasional Freudian Slip of "our music" when referring to his own. Before 'Driftwood' Professor Healy gave an impromptu lecture about songwriting, comparing it to completing a crossword puzzle. "Finishing a song is easy. Once you've got the chords and the melodies... It's like filling in the last 3 or 4 words on the crossword... You just write the last letters in." As it turned out 'Side' started as a rap song, and the vomiting antics of one Douglas Payne heaved enough inspiration for the busk-friendly "Flowers in the Window".
I cannot wait until the album comes out and hear the whole thing. Remember, Remember, the 5th of October.