The reason for such a hasty exit from Brixton is that Travis are secret special guests at the Institute of Contemporary Arts on The Mall in Central London. The ICA is hosting a week of events in aid of Amnesty International, called DJ Saved My Life, and tonight is presented by BBC Radio 1 Dj Jo Whiley. The Thrills are the main attraction, and they're onstage as Travis enter the venue though a narrow side door.
The ICA is a tiny venue, with a capacity of only 350. The dressing room is on an equally small scale, with hardly enough room for the whole band to sit down. Dougie drop his keys into an ice bucket by accident, which causes much amusement as everyone freezes their hands trying to recover them. Once The Thrills have finished their set, Jo let's the audience into the secret that Travis are in the building, and the crew set to work with a speedy stage change.
It's midnight when Travis take to the stage for the second time this evening. Not quite the latest gig they've ever played (that honour falls to a show in America, a couple of years ago on Dougie's birthday), but still pretty unusual. Neil is perched behind a stripped down drumkit, and Fran, Dougie and Andy sit on little bar stools with guitars rested on knees.
It's a simple, stripped-down 6 song set this evening, with a bit of chatter between songs from Fran. Everything is going well until mid-way through Turn, when one of Fran's guitar strings breaks. He hands the guitar to a tech, and continues singing the song with some very Freddy-Mercury-esque microphone twirls. Unfortunately, there's no spare strings, so the broken one is removed from the guitar, and the remaining 5 strings re-tuned.
Peace The Fuck Out is the last song of the six, and Fran is barely to the first chorus before yet ANOTHER string breaks. It's impossible to play the song, and with the rest of his guitars still back in Brixton, Fran ends up borrowing a Fender Telecaster from The Thrills. Unfortunately, it's in a weird open tuning, so there's a few minutes of fiddling around before Peace The Fuck Out starts!
With two shows finished, and at almost 1am it's time to head into Soho for the aftershow party.
Travis have a day off tomorrow before departing for the U.S. at 6.30AM Sunday morning. To begin a two week tour of the States and Canada.