Review: Traveller & Fortune, FBi Social, Sydney

Traveller and Fortune
Image Courtesy of Traveller & Fortune

Traveller & Fortune with Emma Davis, Huckleberry Hastings
FBi Social, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 30th January, 2014

Once again I found myself at the end of a Traveller & Fortune at FBi Social in Kings Cross, as the band packed up and faithful congratulated them on their show, almost apologising for the tiny crowd that had shown up that night. The Sydney live scene is a fickle thing and it boggles my mind that a band as good as Traveller & Fortune, with strong supports from Huckleberry Hastings and Emma Davis, will play to about 30 people on a Thursday night especially when they can easily fill rooms in Melbourne and their native Adelaide. But all I can think is that those that weren’t there missed out on a another amazing show.

Huckleberry Hastings has become a fixture on the live scene in recent months, popping up at so many gigs around the city he’s hard to miss. And there’s a reason Hastings is everywhere – his powerful voice and heart wrenching songs are captivating. I feel like we’re just scraping the surface of Huckleberry Hastings talent and it will be really interesting to watch him grow as an artist. If I had one word of advice for Huck, it’s that he explores the major keys a little more. The final song he played in his set, a newer track that tread the familiar theme of heartbreak, was a welcome respite due to its major chords and “happier” tone. I can’t wait to see what comes next for Huckleberry Hastings.

It’s so good to catch Emma Davis again. I didn’t manage to catch her recent tour with Brian Campeau but her recently released track “Stand Tall” was one of my favourite tracks of last year and gets a regular, almost daily spin on my iPod months after it was released. Her on stage presence is delightful, self-deprecating between songs and raw and honest during. In the hands of most solo singer-songwriters the electric guitar can be an unwieldy tool but in Emma Davis’ hands it becomes beautiful, understated and the perfect accompaniment to her tumbling folk songs. Most of Davis’ set was drawn from her 2010 self titled album, with the inclusion of “Stand Tall” and her cover of Sugar Ray’s “Every Morning”, and I’m really excited to see what she’s got in store for the rest of 2014.

I think there are two things that make Traveller & Fortune a pretty special band. Firstly the fact that it’s made up of a collection of singer-songwriters – Tom West, Todd Sibbin and Kaurna Cronin are just three of the band’s members whose solo projects Timber and Steel has covered – yet it seems to be a group without egos. Their sound just gels with each member adding to the whole, not show boating or over reaching.

Which brings me to the second reason I like Traveller & Fortune – the fact that they’re just such talented musicians. Among the band’s five members I think I counted at least nine different instruments, and that’s before you call out the different vocalists. But rather than being showy – rather than going through instrumental acrobatics in an effort to show off how good they are – Traveller & Fortune choose the right instrumentation for the song. Even if only six notes are played on a xylophone or the harmonica only makes a single appearance across the entire set, their inclusion on the songs is perfectly placed makes dragging them all the way to Sydney worthwhile. The way Traveller & Fortune layer their songs is just masterful.

Traveller & Fortune were launching their new EP I Am Only Snow and I have to say I really enjoyed hearing the tracks from it live. Probably my favourite track from the night is the single “Little Plastic People”, although the entire set was a joy and I just hope they keep coming back to Sydney.

And while this is the second time I’ve seen Traveller & Fortune play to a small Sydney crowd I hope this doesn’t discourage them for giving the city another chance. This band has an amazing sound and I really look forward to seeing how much they’ve grown next time they venture east.

1 Comment

  1. February 7, 2014 at 14:39

    […] “Traveller & Fortune choose the right instrumentation for the song. Even if only six notes are played on a xylophone or the harmonica only makes a single appearance across the entire set, their inclusion on the songs is perfectly placed makes dragging them all the way to Sydney worthwhile. The way Traveller & Fortune layer their songs is just masterful” – Gareth Hugh Evans reviews Traveller & Fortune at FBi Social in Sydney. Review here […]


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