Friday 13th, LUCKY for some? (A Frank Turner Gig Review)
In terms of the modern day music industry, it can’t get much better that a sell out arena tour. Supported by your friends-in-the-trade. At Wembley. For your first ever arena date in the UK. But that’s exactly what one self-proclaimed ‘skinny, half-arsed, English country singer’ managed to do last Friday. So, how does one man [...]
In terms of the modern day music industry, it can’t get much better that a sell out arena tour. Supported by your friends-in-the-trade. At Wembley. For your first ever arena date in the UK. But that’s exactly what one self-proclaimed ‘skinny, half-arsed, English country singer’ managed to do last Friday. So, how does one man achieve such a feat? Luck? Not when it comes down to Frank Turner and his trusty band, The Sleeping Souls. It’s been years of hard graft ‘slumming it’ in pubs and clubs across the land. And, good God, was it worth it.
Accompanied by the likes of old time punk anarchist Billy Brag, the country-folk boys of Beans on Toast, and the rather marvellous Essex boys, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Frank (let’s call him Frank; Turner seems far too formal for this friend to all who listen), in typical Frank style, proved society and its belief system wrong again; Friday the thirteenth was perhaps feeling like the luckiest day of his career so far. And I feel lucky just to say I managed to be there.
Despite his privileged past as an Eton schoolboy whose classmates consisted of the likes of Prince William, there is something undeniably down to Earth about Frank Turner; a modern day Robin Hood for music if you like. And his sound follows suit; his lyrics are day-to-day tales of day-to-day people, stealing from your heart to give to your ears, and the melodies, drawing on the way music used to be (what I like to call ‘home-cooked’ music), are lively jigs that infect you with the undeniable urge to swing your friend (or a random stranger) round the room. There is no necessity to be encouraged to learn the words; you’ll find yourself singing/shouting them back without even realising.
It is true that ideally Frank should be most suited to a set at your local and not Wembley arena. It shouldn’t really work at all. But it is also the music of camaraderie, of protest, rebellion and revolution. And what’s more appealing to a crowd of teenagers (be it literal or at heart) than the catchy chorus of a good ol’ fashioned crowd sing-a-long and the feel good factor of optimistic vivacity. We’ve been waiting a long time now for someone to come along and say ‘things will get better’, especially in the current state of things, and it doesn’t hurt that he can sing ‘long live good music’ at the same time.
In the company of a friend who is an avid ‘FTHC’ fan and had been a trusty gig follower throughout the man’s solo career, this was to be my first experience of Frank Turner live. His four album discography leaves a lot to be anticipated, and he didn’t let me down an inch. A FTHC gig can be expected to contain: an infectious need to dance, superhero ability to absorb all lyrics, humour, blunt honesty, and a feel good factor that’s getting harder and harder to find. Oh, and a quick tattoo in the wings before the encore.
Itching to be part of the start of the ‘Frank Turner/home-cooked music’ revolution? Keep your ears pricked and your eyes peeled! Frank nicely announced a UK tour is being planned momentarily for 2013, hitting all towns near you! Also in the wind will be the sounds of his new single ‘I Want To Dance’, one he was kind enough to play and a hit of the future I predict, especially with fans more assailed to the rock sound of things. And if THAT isn’t enough for the FTHC fans out there, also to be announced is his fifth studio album!
This man may not believe in luck, but music is more than lucky to have him.