Leading a renaissance of earnestness is the Scottish band Travis, whose December 20, 2003 concert at London’s Alexandra Palace finds the young band onstage and on fire before a polite yet enthusiastic crowd of 8,000. It’s a huge hall, almost too big for the band’s intimate, introspective music. But Travis pulls off a high-energy show built around its 2003 12 Memories album, lighting songwriter Fran Healy’s pure-pop cadences with terse arrangements and bursts of overdriven sound. The band plays tight and clean, commendably resisting the tendency among bands to get noisy when they want to sound powerful. If only director Matt Askem better understood this concept. The cameras are always moving, giving us almost no stationary vantage. Still, the picture looks great, with terrific use of black and supersaturated hues emphasizing primary colors. Travis at the Palaceis an exciting record of a band in its prime.
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