Frank Turner must be one of the hardest gigging musicians around, fresh off his punk Mongol Horde tour, records a new album ‘Be More Kind’ and then kicks this extensive UK Tour off in Manchester. He’s even got his own festival planned for Camden – ‘Lost Evenings’ where he will play different venues and have pop up tattoo parlours, book readings, comedians and conversation topics.
Reportedly buzzing to start playing live again in Manchester, his band throw themselves straight in to new tracks with dancier based opener single ‘Blackout’ and then ‘1933’ a much more punk based rocker. It only takes a few minutes before he’s drenched in sweat pouring every ounce of energy into the performance.
Audience tonight are packed in, it sold out quickly, in fact we are surprised he isn’t playing the Arena, but I don’t think that is his preferred location, he likes to see the whites of his fan’s eyes and these smaller venues offer that intimacy.
If you had thought tonight was all about selling the new album, well you’d be mostly wrong as we get a cavalcade of hits as well as the new album cuts. ‘Get Better’ and ‘Recovery’ have the audience arms aloft from front to back.
His energy is amazing for a guy who it seems is constantly touring, he still gets a big kick out of hearing the crowd singalong to ‘I Still Believe’, this battle-weary soldier continues to fight when being egged on by the crowd. The camaraderie between band and audience is real, an overwhelming feeling of everybody is in this together – an evening when everyone knows the lyrics and sings their hearts out. It’s a shared cathartic performance from both sides of the stage.
“If you know the words, join in,” said Turner introducing one of his most recent songs. “If you don’t know the words, just listen first time round and you’ll get the idea.” Poignant new songs like ‘There She Is’ sit alongside the likes of ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Prufrock’ – classic early stuff from his 1stalbums. Then there is that wonderful anti religion song ‘Glory Hallelujah’ with everyone singing “There is No God, So Clap Your Hands Together” in Church hymnal fashion – it’s hilarious to experience.
A chance to catch your breath when he runs a couple of solo numbers particularly ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ but that is short lived as the non-stop juggernaut of get-up-and-go keeps on rocking into the night. You don’t sit down, and you don’t shut up, or grow old at a Frank Turner gig. We came, we drank beer, we sang some great songs and we’ll do it all again whenever he is in town.
Reviewed by John Hayhurst