TRAVIS and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra may not be obvious bedfellows, but it was the classical musicians who were potentially at a disadvantage in this exclusive match-up for BBC Music Day, given that Barrowland is not your ideal venue for a sympathetic orchestral acoustic, yet just the place for homecoming heroes Travis to boost their impact.
Travis & BBC SCO | Rating: **** | Barrowland, Glasgow
But even with a full orchestra behind them and the buzz of its live broadcast on Radio Scotland, the performance was initially low-key, allowing the band to showcase their appealing softer side. The understated yet richly textured set favoured their melancholic numbers – Sing, Writing To Reach You – with the aching themes which burrow deeper.
The energy moved up a gear with the appearance of magnetic guest vocalist Josephine Oniyama on new song Idlewild and the lusty contribution of the male voices of the Parsonage choir on Paralysed, one of the beefier, more urgent numbers on current album Everything At Once.
The band amped up proceedings just as the live broadcast came to an end with the thoroughly unsubtle All I Want To Do Is Rock, the orchestra providing a classy swell behind one of their more laboured numbers.
Having bid goodbye to the radio audience, the remainder of the set was given over to the blithe and bouncy numbers – the perennial anthem Why Does It Always Rain On Me, new poppy stomper Magnificent Time, a ceilidh-like interlude for orchestra alone, and a reprise of the lovely Sing.