Frank Turner Gig Review

Frank Turner Gig

Booking for any gig more than six months in advance, is, more or less, a guarantee that it’s going to be good. Or at the very least, something special. When a friend told me he had tickets to see Frank Turner in February 2014 back in mid 2013, it seemed an age away, but as ever, the time flew by and soon is was headed east on the Jubilee line to the O2.

As anyone who goes to gigs with any regularity, the excitement builds and builds within you and the moment you start seeing people wearing the act’s t-shirts or hoodies, it becomes palpable and almost overwhelming. Well, that’s true for me anyway. Maybe I get a little too into it. Regardless, at a venue the size of the O2, it is hard not to be constantly surrounded by fans, all with a common purpose and all in good spirits. The excitement is catching and, particularly in London, lowers barriers by giving you something in common to discuss with the strangers around you.

Opening act Beans on Toast’s self styled ‘drunk folk’ provided a fantastic, light and humorous start to the evening with songs discussing everything from the blues to, well, more or less anything. The brilliant lyrics are an insight into a mind that is quite unlike any other I’ve ever really heard. Combining comedy, politics, sex and drugs into a unique mix.

Frank Turner Gig2

Next up and the last warm up act were the ever-exuberant and wonderfully Irish Flogging Molly. Playing their unique blend of Irish folk music and punk (they call it Celtic Punk), I had seen them live before, but not for many years and was pleased to see they had lost none of their punch or enthusiasm. The likes of ‘Drunken Lullabies’ and ‘What’s Left of the Flag’ brought out singing voices in large parts of the crowd and added in a healthy dose of skanking and slightly wild dancing (yes, guilty I’m afraid – I can’t resist it), setting the tone nicely and warming the crowd up perfectly before the main act.

Frank Turner, flanked by the wonderful Sleeping Souls band, looked the part of the former-punk-turned-troubadour and completely at home in such a large venue. Although perhaps lacking the intimacy of a small gig, it is a joy to know that many people were there to support one of Britain’s most talented and least sung (despite his appearance at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony) acts. Keeping the songs mixed with a healthy dose of new material from his latest album ‘Tape Deck Heart’ as well as older material from personal favourite ‘England Keep My Bones’ and beyond, back to his very early days there was something for everyone. The evening rang to tunes recalling childhood days spent in his hometown of Winchester, right up to the more recent years, growing old and all that it brings with it. The energy in the crowd was unanimously uplifting and as with any good gig, the smiles were spread wide across everyone’s faces on the way out.

Frank Turner can be found here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

By Peter Churchill