Travis (with Turin Brakes)
Dublin Castle, May 6th 2001
Turin Brakes opened their 45-minute set with a jangly, mellow, melodic, and
touching instrumental. Slightly squeaky vocals of the kind recently gaining
popularity with English bands were soon added, but the jangle and melody
continued unabated throughout their set. It was soon apparent that Turin
Brakes' music doesn't so much contrast with the songs of tonight's
headlining act as it cohabits the same abode. Their set glided by ever so
smoothly just like the seagulls silhouetted against the clear blue skies that
blessed this year's Green Energy Festival in Dublin. They were a perfect
From my vantage point halfway back in the courtyard, Travis were the almost-invisible band when they took the stage promptly at 9 pm for the first of two sold out shows at Dublin Castle. I could barely see Fran's Kewpie Doll hair peak gleaming under the spotlights. They opened with recent single, 'Sing', which seemed to be as much a command for the audience as a song title.
This being their first gig of the year, Fran introduced 'Pipe Dreams' as
being "the Bootleggers' delight." With its jangle and neat keyboards it
was simple, subtle but affecting and easily the best of the unheard songs from
their new album. In many ways it epitomised both Travis' strength as well as
their Achilles' heel. Fran described their music as "simple stuff. We
don't want to get too complicated." Interesting that this was his introduction to a song called 'Safe.' Simplicity combined with melody often makes songs memorable with repeated listening. While the airplay-heavy previous singles elicited hand waving sing-a-longs, the new songs mainly provided a chance for the audience to chat with their neighbours.
Simplicity and melody are also easily accessible for all age groups and are what made these gigs easy sell-outs. The lights glinted off of as many youthful body piercings as they did grey hairs in the audience. Unfortunately simplicity also kept the gig from ever lifting above the average. That-song-that's-the-hidden-track-at-the-end-of-The-Man-Who with the flashing blue rock 'n' roll stage lights was as wild as it got. Mott the Hoople's 'All the Young Dudes' provided the only quirky cover, and the upbeat 'Happy' ended the night with its radical (?!) feedback.
The grinning face of the rounded moon looked down upon the exiting crowds after both nights' gigs. It seemed to have a look of enjoyment but not complete satisfaction, just like the faces in the audience.
'The Invisible Band' will be released on June 12. Interesting statement that one. Makes it sound like Travis is getting let out early for good behaviour.