Travis have the hits covered for Sheffield show

Travis are, from left, guitarist Andy Dunlop,drummer Neil Primrose, singer/guitarist Fran Healy and bassist Dougie Payne

Travis are, from left, guitarist Andy Dunlop,drummer Neil Primrose, singer/guitarist Fran Healy and bassist Dougie Payne

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Scottish rockers Travis are gearing up for a huge hometown headline arena show.

But before they take to the stage at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro they have the small matter of two “end-of-year” live outings in Liverpool and Sheffield.

Not that they are worried about rehearsing for the shows which take place in Liverpool on Monday, Sheffield’s O2 Academy on Tuesday, December 20, and Glasgow the following day.

“We’re not rehearsing,” laughs bassist Dougie Payne. “We tend to rehearse in the sound checks, that’s all we tend to do these days.”

And with 60-odd shows already under their belt this year, following the release of top-five album Everything At Once, it is understandable.

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I always find it a bit odd when people get a bit sniffy about playing hits, or familiar stuff.

Dougie Payne, Travis bassist

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Everything At Once is album number eight for the band of singer/guitarist Fran Healy, guitarist Andy Dunlop and drummer Neil Primrose, as well as Dougie, which perhaps explains why they can afford to cut down on the number of shows.

“We used to be doing 150 shows a year,” admits Dougie.

Eight albums, plus B sides means the band have a back catalogue of more than 100 songs, not including the covers they are renowned for, from Britney Spear’s Hit Me Baby One More Time, to The Beatles’ Lovely Rita.

And the band have been delighted with how well the new material has been received by gig-goers, alongside the hits which made them famous such as Turn, Sing, Closer and Why Does It Always Rain on Me.

“The new stuff has gone nicely bedded into the set,” says Dougie. “It’s nice to play live and it’s gone down really well – and it quickly becomes muscle memory, which is okay.

“Although sometimes we throw in something we haven’t played for a while and I will have to have a hard think about it, but it’s weird how quickly it comes back.

“I remember doing a shows before Ode to J Smith,” he says, referring to the band’s sixth album, a top-20 hit in 2008.

“We did small shows. We did new stuff and took requests.

“It was all super fans and they were all asking for obscure B sides.

“It was hard but by the second chorus, we’d kind of got it.”

But the 44-year-old dad-of-two, who is married to Trainspotting and Nanny McPhee star Kelly Macdonald says it is not the band which makes a show, but the crowd.

And this is one reason why the group have no problem playing their hits every night some 15 years after their release.

Dougie says: “I always find it a bit odd when people get a bit sniffy about playing hits, or familiar stuff.

“The main thing about shows is the crowd – it’s 
10 per cent band, 90 per cent crowd and we’ve always felt like that.

“The most important thing is for the crowd singing along.

“People are shy about singing alone, about projecting their voice. When they have the protection of a crown, they can do it with total freedom.

“Getting the crowd singing, that’s really important – that’s the best bit for us.

“And the beauty of our latest record is the songs are short, which means we can play more stuff.”

With 60-odd shows done this year, the band have no plans to rewrite the set list for a handful of festive shows.

“The shows over the year is a matter of refining the set list, getting it right, pinpointing what really works together, what is the right framework,” explains Dougie.

“We think we have got that right now and don’t want to mess that up, but we have plans to throw in a Christmas cover – we’ve done Slade and Wham before.”

n Travis play Sheffield’s O2 Academy on Tuesday, December 20. Support comes from Sarah Walk. For tickets, priced from £27.50, visit www.sheffieldacademy.co.uk

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