Frank Turner – Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, 08/02/2014

Frank Turner has developed a reputation throughout his career as an incessant tourer, breaking only every couple of years or so to record a new album. He paid for this to an extent with a back injury which forced the cancellation of several shows in Europe over the summer, but he’s recovered to make it back to Scotland for the first proper show since Glasgow in April last year (let’s not count the 25 minute slot he got at T in the Park). I’ve been following Frank around for several years now, first seeing him at King Tuts in Glasgow, and it seems everytime I go to see him, the venue size has increased ever so slightly. That’s a testament to how good Frank is as a live performer, and testament to the word of mouth that has helped to increase his fanbase.

So it’s the Corn Exchange tonight for Frank’s return to Edinburgh, a venue which I’ve never had much love for in the past (RIP The Picture House). It’s sold out, and after a mishap with the tickets, I managed to purchase a couple of an unlucky soul on Gumtree. At this stage in his career, Frank’s recorded 5 albums, and the sheer amount of excellent songs make it inevitable that he’ll have to miss out some classics along the way (unfortunately on this occasion, those included ‘The Real Damage’, ‘Love, Ire and Song’ and ‘I Am Disappeared’).

He took to the stage just after 9 o’clock, starting with fan favourite ‘Photosynthesis’, a song often found towards the end of the set, but very welcome as an opener too. A very candid reference to the day’s unfortunate Rugby score at Murrayfield was mentioned, with Frank getting a big cheer when he mentioned that he couldn’t give a fuck about rugby (or indeed any other sport!). His most recent album ‘Tape Deck Heart’ was released around this time last year, and the set contained several of the best songs off that album, mixed in with classics and a couple of rarely played tracks. Particular highlights included ‘To Take You Home’, a lovely little song from his second album, that I hadn’t heard in a while, complete with a story about a French lover from Frank’s past, and a reworked version of the excellent ‘Father’s Day’, one of only two songs to be played on the night from Frank’s debut album ‘Sleep is for the Week’.

He’s always been very vocal about his influences and other bands he likes, and not for the first time, we’re treated to his cover of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Modern Leper’ (to be pedantic, one of their weaker songs IMO but still good!) which was very good! There isn’t many artists you can go and see, and find nearly every audience member singing along passionately to every song, but Frank Turner seems to have that special ability. It always sounds a bit clichéd to mention that a gig can provide a sense of community but Frank Turner shows really do fall into that niche. New songs such as ‘Losing Days’ are sung with just as much passion as older classics like ‘Long Live The Queen’.

 The main set concluded with a lovely rendition of ‘Broken Piano’ from the newest album, before a three song encore to finish the night. That began with a song he once said he’d never play before (he did reference this!), ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ which was sang entirely by the audience, before finishing off with the rousing sing-alongs of ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘Four Simple Words’.

A thought occurred to me as another fantastic show finished. I’d been listening to and going to see Frank Turner for over 5 years now, around 15 shows, and I’ve never once had a bad experience. How many artists can anyone say that about?

Frank Turner is touring the rest of the UK just now.

Setlist

  1. Photosynthesis
  2. Plain Sailing Weather
  3. Peggy Sang The Blues
  4. Losing Days
  5. Try This At Home
  6. Glory Hallelujah
  7. Reasons Not To Be An Idiot
  8. The Way I Tend To Be
  9. The Modern Leper (Frightened Rabbit Cover)
  10. Father’s Day
  11. To Take You Home
  12. Wessex Boy
  13. Polaroid Picture
  14. The Road
  15. If Ever I Stray
  16. Eulogy
  17. I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
  18. One Foot Before The Other
  19. Long Live The Queen
  20. Recovery
  21. Broken Piano
  22. The Ballad of Me and My Friends
  23. I Still Believe
  24. Four Simple Words

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