Fran Healy at the Mod Club, Toronto – Gig review and show photos

November 30, 2010
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Fran Healy at the Mod Club, Toronto, 26 November 2010 - photo by Renee Saviour, Music Vice, All Rights Reserved

The Gig: Fran Healy
When: 26 November 2010
Where: The Mod Club, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
In One Word: Jocular

It’s not every night that musicians get upstaged by their four year old sons heckling from a darkened balcony, but that’s exactly what happened to Fran Healy Friday night at the Mod Club.  Healy, lead singer of the band Travis, was in town on a tour promoting his first solo album, Wreckorder.  But his show was not quite a solo effort. Just before going on stage, Healy created his set list with the advice of his little boy, Clay.  As he told stories through an acoustic set – just Healy and his guitar – Clay’s wee little voice would intermittently shout out additional commentary, instructions and questions.

The highlight of the father-son interplay had to have been Clay’s grim little teddy bear story that Healy improvised into a song:

“Teddy bears, teddy bears, running in the woods;
Teddy bears, teddy bears, don’t know if they should.
Teddy bears, teddy bears, digging a big hole;
then one of the teddy bears ran into a tree,
and they all got crushed below.”

Apart from the teddy bear story, Clay’s contribution to the set list consisted of songs from Wreckorder. While the new music is fair and catchy enough, it’s not a huge departure from other Travis songs which lately, haven’t stood up to the strength of some of the band’s older work. But Healy’s charm and performance made up for it. “Sierra Leone”, which showed off some impressive whistling skills, “Fly in the Ointment” and “As It Comes”, which features Paul McCartney on bass in the album, were the strongest songs of the lot.

The final third of the set was determined by the audience who was encouraged to shout out requests for Travis songs and covers.  Highlights included “The Cage”, “Driftwood” and Joni Mitchell’s “River”.  My friends and I were simultaneously amused and disturbed that Healy had no problem recalling the lyrics to Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time”, but struggled to remember the words to some of his own tunes – something that speaks to the sad oversaturation of bad pop.  Maybe little Clay Healy and his dark sensibilities can do something about that when he grows up.

© Renee Saviour, Music Vice

Pictures of Fran Healy at the Mod Club:

Related internet links:
Fran Healy

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Fran Healy since the Travis tunes “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” and “Turn”, here’s his latest music video for “Buttercups”:

Renee Saviour

activist, teacher, book lover, music zealot

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