GIG REVIEW: THE TRAVELLING BAND @ THE DEAF INSTITUTE
Manchester’s The Travelling Band have been steadily carving out their own niche of “Mancunian Americana” over the past decade. Since their debut LP Under The Pavement back in 2008, their steady stream of singles, EP’s and full length albums has seen them build up a loyal fan base, and has taken them to stages around the world, notably at the Glastonbury Festival, when organiser Michael Eavis personally selected the band as his New Talent award winners.
The band released album number four “Sails” back in August on their own label Sideways Saloon Records, to greatly positive reviews from the likes of Clash Magazine, The 405 and Louder Than War. They have also had a few recent re-jigs to the lineup with core trio Adam Gorman, Jo Dudderidge and Nick Vaal now joined by Harry Fausing Smith (sax, violin, clarinet) and Sam Quinn (bass) following the departure of original members Mugger (guitar) and Spenny (bass). It’s this lineup that hit the stage at The Deaf Institute tonight.
The Travelling Band are supported by Pale Seas, a dream-pop outfit who have gained comparisons to Elliot Smith and Beach House, whom have recently toured with an array of credited bands including Stornoway, Beach Fossils and The War On Drugs. They present an energetic, polished set with some catchy and incredibly well-structured numbers, and plenty of Oasis-esque guitar reverb. The highlight in their set being their very entertaining drummer who flails as if his life depends on it, sparking comparison to that of Animal from the Muppets.
Their latest album Stargazing For Beginners is out now on Abbey Records.
Now for the main spectacle. From the moment The Travelling Band take to the stage, they have the entire crowd completely on their side – this is a triumphant homecoming gig, with many friends in attendance. Chants and in-jokes between the band and the crowd run throughout tonight’s set, and its this charm and patter that is central to the bands appeal. They clearly have a great affection for the crowd and The Deaf Institute in particular. “Manchester, it’s so good to be home” declares singer Jo “we’ve toured all over the country, and we can confirm that everywhere else is absolutely shit“. Their DIY ethic extends as far as their merch stall where tonight the band are selling, amongst other items, homemade tea towels, bath bombs and some very hyped up chili sauce. They’re also a charitable bunch, giving a percentage from all the nights takings to Children In Need. Nice lads.
The band bring their music to life in a way that elevates so much more than on record. They have such a wide patchwork of influences that can be heard woven throughout their sound; from traditional folk, to straight up indie, with smatterings of Brit-pop and psychedelic vibes all added in the musical blender. The Travelling Band excel at creating textures and atmosphere simply and effectively – the duel harmonies of Jo and Adam giving each song a distinct feel. The band pull everything off through sheer passion and hard graft, and it’s evident to see that these guys are having the time of their lives up on stage.
There’s a brilliant sense of musicianship going on with band members switching up places and tossing instruments to each other, Arcade Fire-style, between songs. This keeps proceedings sounding fresh and vibrant as each player approaches their instrument in a different way, mixing up the bands sound in the process. Best of the talented bunch is Harry, who (between each number) seemingly rotates between bass, guitar, violin and saxophone. There’s a marvellous bit of stage flare at the end of the set where he dives onto the bar mid saxophone-jam to mass applause – understandably so, too.
There’s also a real sense of creating an occasion with this show – the highlight being the main set closer ‘Sundial’. What made this track a stand out was headliners asking the audience for a bit of hush before going completely unplugged and acoustic for a spellbinding number, during which they all decent down into the middle of the crowd for a mass in-the-round singalong. Magical stuff.
They push their set right up to the edge of their curfew – “just seen the security guard glancing at his watch, classy“, quips Jo – before a couple of high energy, E-Street band style numbers leave the crowd on a high.
The Travelling Band continue their UK tour throughout the rest of November. They’ll be hard-pushed to find a more enthusiastic and up for it bunch to play to than their home crow (as most band’s might expect), but their heartfelt, passionate set is one not to be missed.
November tour dates:
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