Gig review: Travis, Edinburgh

Travis played at the Edinburgh Picture House. Picture: Contributed
Travis played at the Edinburgh Picture House. Picture: Contributed
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A CERTAIN note of triumph hung over the Glasgow-formed, late-90s indie rock survivors Travis during this show, doubtless as an effect of their recent return to the top three of the UK album chart with their seventh album Where You Stand as much as the typically awestruck reaction from their country people.

Edinburgh Picture House

***

When you break it down though, a different story presented itself. Critically and commercially far from the ascendant, this is a band which used to fill large arenas, and this more modest (but still admittedly packed to the brim) stop on their latest jaunt around Scotland suggested it is just the first rung on a speculative ladder back to where they were.

More of a systemic problem is the issue of their new material, which neither sparkles nor uplifts with quite the same verve as the vintage material, which it appears, is what the fans have turned up to hear. The early stages of the show were peppered with these tracks, including Warning Sign, the record’s title track and Reminder, and by that last song – one with all the lyrical impetus and verve of a reminder to feed the cat pinned to the fridge door – the very atmosphere in the room was atrophying.

What we were left with then, was a lively and likeable (singer Fran Healy remains one of pop’s most inoffensively loveable figures, and it’s impossible to wish him anything but success) nostalgia act, whose roster of songs grew older and more feverishly received as the night drew on. Offerings such as Sing, Turn, an acoustic Flowers in the Window and Why Does It Always Rain On Me? drew a huge response, but it said much that the earliest songs – the buoyant Happy and All I Wanna Do is Rock – were also the best.