With his soulful voice and bad-boy charm, Travis Garland is living the indie solo artist’s dream. As a line of his fans are seen along the outside walls of Red House Studios in Walnut Creek, California on Saturday night, one could tell just how dedicated of a fan base Garland has. Some fans have been standing in line hours before doors opened, whereas others have come to see their favorite artist perform for probably the billionth time.
Garland is a young man whose career launched by being the lead singer of the boy band, NLT (Not Like Them). Amongst Garland, he was also joined by Glee’s Kevin McHale, Justin Thorne, and Vahe Sevani.
Three years after NLT split in 2006, Garland decided to fly as a solo artist. Currently, he works with a production group called, The Stereotypes, but is not signed to any record label. His self-titled debut album, which was released in 2013, was widely-acclaimed by his fans.
Once the doors opened, a long line of people were funneled into a small, intimate room where they waited for Garland’s opening act, Jeremy “Passion” Manongdo, to perform. Otherwise known as “Passion,” this young man has been known by Garland since the “MySpace days.” He has since been an opening act almost every time Garland is set to perform in the Bay Area.
As he graces the stage with his melodic voice and kind personality, Passion readies the audience for Garland’s performance. After beautifully covering several mainstream songs — such as Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” and Nick Jonas’s “Jealous”—he exits the stage and leaves Garland’s die-hard fans impatiently waiting for the main act.
As Garland’s band comes on-stage, excited shouts can be heard from the audience. After several minutes, Garland finally emerges and the crowd explodes.
Garland performed many of his own songs off his self-titled album, such as “Motel Pool,” “Blue Electric Roses,” and “Neighbor.” With each song, he entertained the crowd with his soulful voice while also hitting some smooth falsettos. To add some flavor to one of his songs, Garland gave an ode to the king of pop, Michael Jackson, as he sang a couple lines from “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.”
Mid-way into his show, Garland and his band experienced some technical difficulties before performing one of his newer songs, “Mr. Rogers.” However, it was quickly resolved when an individual from the crowd asked if Garland can perform “Didn’t Stand A Chance,” one of his popular acoustic songs.
Without uncertainty, Garland decided to perform the song despite it not being on his setlist; however, he could not sing the song alone.
“We gotta have my boy Passion help me with the song,” Garland exclaimed as the crowd cheered and started to help look for the artist’s opening act.
Within minutes, Passion and Garland were on-stage together performing the acoustic song as if they have been singing together for ages. At first, it looked like Passion was experiencing some nervous tension, but with the help of Garland and his band they were able to pull the performance through.
As the concert started winding down, Garland and his band wanted to end the show with one of his favorite metaphor-filled songs to perform, “Homewrecker.” With much enthusiasm and sing-alongs by the audience, Garland was able to end his intimate concert with a bang. Through this last song, his audience is given a great example of how live singing should sound.
Many Garland fans left with excitement and joy after seeing one of their favorite artists perform on stage as the small concert space in Red House Studios began to empty. Upon leaving the venue, many of Garland’s fans were left with the echoes of his soaring vocals and his electrifying success as a solo artist.
*Video clip by Janelle Moncada