The Travelling Band @ Cobbles and Clay, Haworth
Haworth on a
snowy winter’s night is a bleak place. Still there are the inviting lights of
the Cobbles and Clay café. Inside it is set up; the chairs are laid out; the
audience are all refreshed (overly so as it turns out in one or two cases) and
seated only one thing is missing – the band.
Then a white van pulls up outside the café and as we watch through the café window our heroes pour out of the vehicle like a cross between the A team and Scooby Doo and his gang. Apparently the Sat-Nav sent them the wrong way. Thankfully, because this is almost completely an acoustic gig, it doesn’t require much to set up. Just plug in the one electric guitar and keyboard; tune up the instruments, set up the drums and they are ready to go.
Ok confession time I’m a big fan of the Travelling Band and this is the third time I’ve seem them this week. Still this is a first even for me. A PA-less performance with the band singing and strumming, mainly as nature intended.
The Travelling Band is a six-piece band. There is a drummer, bassist (playing a double bass on this occasion) and electric guitarist (who also adds backing vocal and on one song lead vocal). There are three front men who swap between keyboards, acoustic guitars and occasional mandolin and banjo. These three take it in turns to take lead vocals on their own compositions.
The music itself is a pretty orthodox mix of sixties folk rock & country pop. There are obvious echoes of things like the Byrds, Gram Parsons and even the Band. Each of the three songwriters has their own style. Snaf’s songs are either campfire style singalongs such as ‘Late Night Songs’ or occasionally more funky workouts such as ‘High Five’. Jo writes the most obviously catchy songs such as the single ‘Only Waiting’. Adam, the third man, specialises in what I would call slow burners. More country influenced and less immediate but the kind of songs that leave a lasting impression.
Currently I would say that the Travelling Band is one of the best live acts treading the boards at the moment. Their combination of musicianship, quality songs and ability to make each show unique are hard to beat. Tonight for example they play two sets of songs with each set lasting a hour. I doubt if many bands with only one album under their belt could pull this off.
The only slight black mark over the gig involved the audience. A group of girls in the audience didn’t seem to realise that the acoustic nature of the concert meant that their constant chatting was an annoyance to the band and the rest of the audience. They didn’t take too kindly to the issue been raised with a loud shriek of ‘I’LL TALK TO MY FRIENDS IF I WANT TO!’ been the answer to a request to button it. I suspect that drink may have been involved. Still they invited the band to an after gig party and the boys were still weighing up whether to go or not when we left – mind you they were talking about using their Sat-Nav to get there!