90 minutes of Fran Healy’s sweet, calculated pop


People started lining down the alley well over an hour early eager to get a good spot to see Fran Healy at the Hotel Café in Hollywood. Other people waited off to the side, hoping someone wouldn’t make it and a ticket would free up. Listening to people in the line gave the impression that Healy was best friends with half the people there. And that’s kind of what you feel after you see him.

Healy’s recently released debut solo album, “Wreckorder,” was good. It’s melodic, well written, and a little dark, in a sappy and sentimental kind of way. Both Neko Case and Paul McCartney make appearances on the album. Based on that alone, it’s worth a listen.

I thought I knew what I would hear and was happily surprised to discover something new. Healy’s performance was like “The Notebook” for my ears. It was 90 minutes of sweet, calculated pop.

Healy played all the songs off “Wreckorder” (pronounced recorder) and then took requests to play crowd favorites from his ongoing band, Travis.

He took the time between songs to explain reasons for and how he makes them. He explained the importance of his diary. He told us about the joys and downfalls of fatherhood. And more than anything else, he made us laugh. The crowd, at least 75 percent female, had no problem getting distracted in Healy’s deep, deep blue eyes.

Healy’s solo material is a natural progression of the music he’s been making with Travis. If you like Travis, you’ll like “Wreckorder.” Healy’s performance was precisely what the audience wanted, and in return, he seemed to genuinely appreciate each and every clap and really gave the impression that he is one of the nicer people in the music industry.