Fran Healy at Save Our Scottish Venues Virtual Festival
Football fans might be rejoicing with the game’s return under new social distancing measures, but the unique pleasure of live music still seems like a very distant reality. Music is a universal language that has no doubt helped many through these trying times, but it is at its best when performed live to a crowd, bringing people together in a way that no other art form can.
To say live music venues have been hit hard is an understatement. The sad and somewhat alarming truth is that over 400 grassroots music venues in the UK are at risk of permanent closure. With government support exhausted, it now falls to artists and fans to take action. Cue “Save Our Venues”: a campaign by the Music Venues Trust, which is raising funds for an industry that’s found itself in this perilous position seemingly overnight.
“Save Our Scottish Venues” is an online event, streaming on 18th June, that features KT Tunstall, Be Charlotte and Wet Wet Wet, with the proceeds of each £5 ticket going towards this worthy cause. To warm things up, Thursday’s opening night began with Travis frontman, Fran Healy.
You’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t heard the classic Why Does It Always Rain on Me? The song propelled the Scottish band into the mainstream in the late 90s, and they’ve remained pretty prolific ever since with a career that spans nine studio albums.
Despite the alluring backdrop of LA, Healy keeps it real and to the point with a simple and straightforward acoustic set. He opens with an assured performance of Side and is soon joined by Healy’s adorable dog, who seems to be enjoying the show as much as we are, before moving onto Last Train. Healy demonstrates stellar vocals in crowd-pleaser Driftwood, which oozes with the warm nostalgia of 90s Britpop.
Mentioning how dire the current situation is and how he feels sorry for us not being able to go out and enjoy ourselves, Healy jokes that he’s a ray of sunshine before lightening the mood with Sing. Once again lifting our spirits, the song sounds as fresh as ever.
The performance emphasises the timelessness of Travis’s music while also reminding us of Healy’s song-writing prowess. This acoustic set permits him to display his raw talent and the stripped-back sound allows the lyrics, as well as Healy’s voice, to be centre stage. There is also the feeling that this is exclusively just for us – intimate and relaxed with a hint of spontaneity.
The fact that Healy’s voice sounds so close to the studio versions of each song he sings is also a testament to his impressive vocal ability; although he does poke fun at himself for failing to hit one particular note at the end of Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
Closing with another classic, Turn, Healy invests his heart and soul into the final number and, like any great performer, leaves us wanting more. A well-executed, elevating experience that has us excited to see Healy and his band in person when this is all finally over.
Photo: Save Our Venues
For further information and future events visit the Save Our Venues’ website here.
Watch the video for A Ghost here: