I should preface all this by fessing to the fact that I don't entirely know how to describe Travelers to you. They straddle a strange line between indie pop and alt-rock in such a way that it's difficult to really categorize the sound. Bits of something like Ed Sheerhan crossed with the expansiveness of Arcade Fire. Filtered through a lens crafted with a Cirque du Soleil kind of vibe. Reaching further back I might reference something like Yaz meets Erasure meets Chris de Burgh meets Wham. Wait, Wham? Yes. Wham. With a little hip-hop on top -- Don't be a snob. Wham was massive in their day. And still, I feel like I'm not hitting the right keys to transcribe the experience of this record to you. That's okay. Actually, it's beyond okay -- it's amazing. Seriously, it's amazing that a local act can pull this level of originality out of the hat. And a large part of why I've fallen in love with them. Of all the bands I've written on in this area, I think Travelers stand a very decent chance of breaking nationally.
They dropped this record over at Elevation 27 about two weeks back to a packed house that thrilled to hear them, and the tracks don't disappoint. From the epic, anthems like "White Rabbit" or "UH-OH" to the quieter, more introspective moments in songs like "Mountaintide" or the opening of "Song to Sing," this is a group that's flexing some serious songwriting muscle to grand effect. Add to that the fact that their production values and presentation are top notch slick? Or the incredible live show they can bring to a stage? These guys just need some luck to end up headlining stadiums down the line. I look forward to seeing where they end up, fingers crossed the whole way.
They brought in a few friends to help out, of course. Every King & Commoner has been making waves since 2016, winning the 2018 Shakarawka Battle of the Bands with music that is haunting and soulful. I somehow missed them until now, and I'm digging everything I've listened to since from them. Starcoast brought their super-tight four piece in with yet another difficult to characterize sound, channeling elements of a 70s rock vibe into a surfish, shoegazey, gloriously psychedelic romp. The Outcry managed a solid opening set despite the absence of their drummer, who was waylaid for surgery but is doing well now according to reports.
In the end, a review of a record isn't about the live show -- it's about whether or not you should drop some cash to buy the product. And I've got to tell you, owning this album now will save you the trouble of going back to buy it when Travelers break huge and turn into stars. Click here to spend your wad and support this band. They deserve it.
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All photos (c) 2019 by Jeff Hewitt. Bands / promoter may share images from the article gratis. High res files are available for licensing. Click here to inquire for rates.
Virginia Beach. Alt-Rock.
Every King & Commoner
Hampton Roads. Indie-Rock.
Va Beach. Indie Rock.
Hampton Roads. Alt-Rock.