I caught this photo of Travis Hayes minutes before he hit the stage at Bottom Of The Hill to play his album release show for his new self-released full length, Young Daze. He was in good spirits. It was a Supermoon. The place was packed. Trebuchet and Christian Lee Hutson were putting on good sets. He joked with friends as we dodged cars in the street to get the shot but when he began strumming it was all business. He started out with an instrumental revving up the crowd after which he announced, “It’s Friday night, San Francisco” triumphantly kicking his band into gear. He bled out and we drank like vampires as he smiled back flirtatiously or ran up to the drummer in ecstasy and got lost in his pitch black guitar and sweat. This album is his San Francisco coming of age tale. The seasoned lyricist cries loneliness as the band rages on bravely. He jests with bravado, “Follow me home. Take all my money and never call my phone.” He plays out his revenge fantasies hissing over a crescendoing band, “I’ll take his bones and I’ll build a house. Then I’ll burn it down just to show him how evil good men can be”. But Travis lets down his guard in the stripped-down must download song Night Swimming, “I’ll admit I’m not always right. But that doesn’t mean I should quit.”
I’m hearing some Bob Dylan timber nestled in with the dark folk indie twang of his band. It’s an “it” factor coming from a matured sense of self-acceptance that can only be attributed to the gutting of trauma. Travis remains collected or at least that’s how he appears; poised and unafraid. Maybe it’s because he finally got out the poison. “Young Daze” is the complacency anti-venom concocted from the hurt separated from his veins. Drink up. Dance it out. Let it go. You’re going to be ok.