The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: The Travelling Band

The Travelling Band’s songs are polished, well written and at times anthemic



4th October


Indie-Folk outfit the Travelling Band pack out Gorilla’s 700-capacity venue with their warm, mid-tempo melodies. In their generous 90-minute set this eight-piece band played a large portion of their back catalogue with every musical instrument short of a kitchen sink. They played quiet, introspective folk ballads. They played warm, driving indie which had the crowd singing along. They finished with some stomping folk-blues-rock. The cleverness in their set-list was that they somehow made all of these changes happen smoothly.

Electric guitar. Acoustic Guitar. Banjo. Harmonica. Keyboard. Bass. Drums. Violin. Cello. Tenor Sax. Trumpet. Trombone. It was hard to keep track of how many times they switched instruments/members throughout the evening. This helps them sound different song-to-song and while it is impressive that they can carry this many instruments to a gig it did seem overdone at times. In the end, it is the one thing they didn’t change—Nick Vaal on drums—that was the best thing about seeing them live. He played the entire set with a massive smile across his face and a vigour that reminded me of Animal from the Muppets.

The songs are polished, well written and at times anthemic—in their own indie-folk way. They sounded at times like a cross between Mumford & Sons and the Thrills. I liked seeing this band, and they played a strong live set which their fans thoroughly enjoyed. But I noticed that the additional string section, which sometimes became the additional horn section, seemed far less connected to the audience than the other members.

Trying too hard at something because you love it is not a crime; but it should not get in the way of the music, or come across negatively. When the lead singer said, “If you see anyone talking then do what I do and look at them as if you’re going to kill them and fuck their sister,” he was kidding.

But only just.