Travis performs at the 9:30 Club. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson / @kgustafson)
Travis played the 9:30 Club recently, bringing to a close a short, five-date US tour celebrating the belated 20th anniversary of their third album, The Invisible Band.
Originally released in June 2001 and featuring the hit songs “Sing,” “Side,” and “Flowers in the Window,” the album hit No. 1 in the UK and proved their breakthrough album, 1999’s The Man Who, was no fluke. The show on Nov. 9 was the band’s first time back in DC since 2013 and first time back the 9:30 Club since 2009.
Travis shows are always a fun night out and last week’s show was no different. The band worked their way through The Invisible Band in order (you know how I feel about that. Broken Social Scene did it right recently at The Lincoln Theater) and while the aforementioned singles got the biggest response from the crowd, rarely played album cuts like “Pipe Dreams” and “Follow The Light” were the standouts for me.
Stream The Invisible Band (Deluxe Edition) by Travis on Spotify:
Affable frontman Fran Healy guided the audience through each song, often stopping to give background on how each song was written or the circumstances that led to the song’s creation. Guitarist Andy Dunlop held down stage left, rocking out in his trademark hunched stance. The rhythm section of bassist Dougie Payne and Neil Primrose provided the bounce and energy and in Payne’s case, a never ending supply of shit-eating grins. All the band members were dressed up in suits to mark the occasion, with Healy’s being hot pink.
After the album portion of the show, a quick outfit change brought the band out to play a second set of career hits, including four songs from The Man Who. Cheekily, after explaining where Healy lifted the chords for “Writing to Reach You” from, the band broke into a cover of “Wonderwall.” Healy also told a funny story about how when he wrote “Writing to Reach You,” he assumed that songwriter Noel Gallagher would never hear it (hence the line “What’s a Wonderwall anyway?”). (Healy has acknowledged lifting guitar chords from “Wonderwall” for “Writing to Reach You.”) But then the band found themselves on tour with Oasis two years later.
Healy also told a few Paul McCartney stories, including the time McCartney told Healy that George Harrison had The Invisible Band in constant rotation as Harrison was nearing the end of his life.
The encore consisted of two covers, “The Weight” and “Back in Black” sandwiched around early single “U16 Girls.”
Watch the official music video for “U16 Girls” by Travis on YouTube:
Flowers in the Window
Follow the Light
The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Writing to Reach You / Wonderwall (Oasis cover)
Why Does It Always Rain On Me
The Weight (The Band cover)
Back in Black (AC/DC cover)
Here are more photos of Travis performing at the 9:30 Club on Nov. 9, 2022. All photos copyright and courtesy of Kyle Gustafson.