Monday, 26 August 2013

The Travellers at The Lexington Saturday August 10th & News of Forthcoming Single "Stay"

Robert & Gemma, The Travellers - Photo by Steve Worrall
I was really looking forward to seeing The Travellers live for the very first time, after all, the St. Malo based band don't play over here in the U.K. very often, and I finally got my chance as they were appearing at a fund-raiser for the Checkemlads charity at The Lexington in Islington. They are responsible for one of my favourite double A-Side 7" singles of recent years in the faultless "Summer With No Sun/74 Times" - where everything from the cover art, production and most importantly, the quality of both of the tracks, just comes together into a perfect package. As the band are based mainly around the songwriting duo of Gemma, who sings and plays keyboards and guitarist Robert, I was intrigued to find out how they would come over live. Pretty damn excellent is the answer to that! Live their songs take on another dimension and are locked into a tight soulful groove, thanks to the excellent rhythm section of drummer Moses and Fred on bass. The really good thing is that there is an underlying edge to their sound and they are much more powerful than I imagined.

Robert, Gemma, Moses. Gildas & Fred - Photo by Steve Worrall
Gildas on rhythm guitar lays down a nice foundation for Robert's catchy fuzzed up riffs that eat into your head and won't come out for days afterwards. Then over this, vocalist Gemma sings her heart out, with a slightly melancholic tinge in her voice that has the habit of tugging at your heart-strings and creating some genuinely moving and emotional music. The band can cut loose though as they prove on their choice of cover versions, the Goffin/King classic "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and a stomping version of Martha & The Vandellas "Heatwave" that has the audience grinning and clapping along. The set tonight is a mix of those covers and a healthy selection of promising new, as yet unrecorded songs, including both sides of the upcoming single "Stay" and "Don't Look For Me". Then of course the excellent "74 Times" and "Summer With No Sun", and my personal highlight "Leaning On The Wind" from the "For The Waves" E.P. Unfortunately there was no "Waiting" but then again, I suppose you can't have everything!

The Travellers - Photo by Steve Worrall
The next day the band performed an acoustic set at London's best record store, Casbah at The Beehive in Greenwich, which I unfortunately couldn't get to, but judging from the videos I saw afterwards, it highlighted another facet to the band - that they can just get up and play their songs stripped back in that environment. It shows their skill and class as songwriters and performers.

The Travellers (L/R) Fred, Gildas, Gemma, Robert & Moses - by Steve Worrall
The new single from The Travellers is another Double A-Side, "Stay"/"Don't Look For Me" and will be released in October. For more info on the exact release date and news of gigs then please check out The Travellers official Facebook page. For information on the Checkemlads cancer awareness and support charity, then please take a minute to visit their web-site. Here's a video of "Leaning On The Wind" from The Lexington, for more videos of the show, including new song "Stay" please head over to the Retro Man Blog YouTube channel and subscribe.

For more photos of The Travellers at The Lexington please go to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album. We have also played tracks from The Travellers in two episodes of Retrosonic Podcast which you can check out at our Soundcloud page.

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