A large crowd of sweaty, friendly, enthusiastic fans were there to greet him and his 2 supports of the night. The first, a comedy-musician going by the name of ‘Beans on Toast’ warmed the crowd up nicely with a fantastic blend of gritty, down to earth comedy and some truly melodic songs, a lot of which echoed the semi-anarchic folk-punk we were all waiting to hear from Frank.
The second support, ‘Fake Problems’ were a Californian punk band who were a bit of an odd choice for the gig. Playing a fantastic set of angry pop-punk their set, while heavier musically, seemed to lack the lyrical depth of ‘Beans on Toast’ or Frank Turner himself. Despite this, the crowd bopped along to ‘Fake Problems’ and the happy punk atmosphere continued to build.
With ‘Fake Problems’ set finished, and the roadies re-appearing to set up for Frank’s set, the crowd began to get impatient. With the tension building and chants of ‘Frank, Frank, Frank’ cutting through the atmosphere, an old English folk song came on the tannoy to signal Frank’s arrival to the stage.
Most people who have heard of Frank Turner will know him for his most recent solo offerings. His most recent boost into the public eye came from the release of the track ‘Long Live The Queen’ at the beginning of the year. I admit that I am among this crowd who were unaware of Frank’s long musical heritage. He began performing professionally in 2001 with the post-hardcore band, ‘Million Dead’ however, 2 albums later, the band parted ways. After the split, Frank found himself longing to perform again. But instead of forming a band, he decided to work solo. 3 albums and several EPs later and he’s going strong.
He started off his set with the hit ‘The Road’ an upbeat tune that hit the charts fairly recently. The track also hit the newspapers as Frank embarked on a massive challenge to film for the video. Frank performed 24 shows in 24 hours, playing in all sorts of locations from halls and theatres to gardens and bedrooms, Frank took on this massive challenge and won over the fan’s hearts.
He played with energy and enthusiasm that, if I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting from a ‘one man and a guitar’ setup. Frank’s opening few numbers were explosive and set the room alight with his infectious smile and obvious love for music.
Another hit he performed was the infamous ‘Long Live the Queen’ written for his friend who unfortunately passed away. Released as a single to raise money for Breast Cancer, the track obviously carries a lot of meaning for Frank. The emotion in the song is obvious as he belts out the chorus to his crowd of adoring and supportive fans.
The set was a whirlwind of old tracks mixed with newer hits, each song blending perfectly with the next, and with such a charming and down-to-earth performer the show was a real treat to watch. Although he’s obviously been doing this for a while, the fame has definitely not gone to his head as it clearly means the world to him to hear a room full of people singing along with his every word. With an expression of excited and stunned happiness crossing his face from time to time as he stepped away from the mic to hear them sing. He even called one of the fans up to perform a harmonica solo during one of his songs, a simple act that really made that fan’s day. He belted his way through anarchic acoustic-punk hits, some of which looking back in history to the peasant’s revolt and calling the audience to arms in this age of government tyranny.
He closed the set with another hit and my personal favourite song of the year ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot’ and left the audience happy and exhilarated. Frank Turner put on a fantastic show that was full of energy, anger and punk spirit, I’ll definitely be coming to see him again!
Words and Photography by Kat Page