Very rarely do you get a gig where everything seems to fall into place perfectly, the venue, the crowd, the setlist and of course an artist at the top of their game. The stars certainly seemed to align above the steeple of the Oran Mor tonight for everyone that ventured out to witness the third night of Frank Turner’s latest UK jaunt. Having just returned from the US a few days before hitting the road again Frank would certainly have a strong case for being one of the hardest working musicians on the circuit today.
Some bands have a real devoted following, Frank Turner has his own legion of willing voices ready to sing back every word to every single song he plays. This is a man that has that priceless commodity thousands of musicians would kill to possess, something that’s worth its weight in gold, and that’s the ability to write albums full of amazing songs. Unlike what occurs at some of the supposed current chart darling’s gigs you don’t go to see Frank Turner to hear one specific single or “that song that goes…….”. There’s no point in the gig that you think its time to hit the bar, there’s no drop in quality, what you get is a set brimming with energy and passion and packed with brilliantly crafted songs.
A lot has changed since the last time I saw Frank at King Tuts in April. For starters the set was flipped upside down tonight with usual show closer “The Ballad of Me And My Friends” being employed as a rabble-rousing opener. The band seems to have grown to the size of giants dwarfing the stage with their presence as they play. It’s also fitting that the venues they are playing along with frank and the band are growing in stature. The crowd jostled and swayed pushing towards their hero as Frank stomped and jumped around on stage. As one of my friends said “you can take the boy out of the hardcore band but you can’t take the hardcore out of the boy”. Musically the band was flawless and Frank’s vocals were as honest and cutting as ever. “Worse Things Happen At Sea” sounded beautiful and new single “Long Live The Queen” provided the most touching and poignant moment of the set. During “St Christopher Is Coming Home” Chris TT and Emily Barker joined the band onstage and added even more weight to an already exceptional live line-up. The shout out loud chants of “And I won’t sit down, And I won’t shut up, And most of all I will not grow up“ in set closer “Photosynthesis” were deafening. After being beckoned back onto the stage Frank treated us to the title track from his latest album “Love, Ire & Song” complete with a little bit of crowd surfing thrown in for good measure. It really was a gig that you left with a massive smile beaming all over your face.
I honestly believe that there are two types of people in the world, those that love Frank Turner and those who haven’t heard him yet. He’s a man of the people, a talented composer and lyricist and owner of one of the best handlebar moustaches since Tom Selleck, what more could you ask for?