REVIEW – FRANK TURNER
@Newcastle University, November 14 2015
Following a sold out show in Glasgow on Friday night, Frank Turner came off stage to the devastating news of the Paris attacks. The news shocked the whole of Britain, but for Turner, it hit much closer as his friend Nick Alexander was confirmed as the first Briton to die. As a result, show number 1784 was dedicated to the Eagles Of Death Metal merchandising manager.
After seven albums, Turner is now at the stage of his career where any less than two hours on stage will ensure he has to leave a lot of fan favorites out. While a two-hour set is good news for most, it did mean that label mates Will Varley and Skinny Lister were limited to a handful of songs each.
Despite their short time on stage, Varley opened with his soft, acoustic sound filled with wordplay and creativity as he showcased his new album as the crowd streamed through the door. After Varley breathed life onto the stage, it was the turn of faux Irish punks Skinny Lister to really liven up with room with a short but effective set that included energetic numbers Trouble On Oxford Street and George’s Class.
Skinny Lister are a tough act to follow as their passion, energy and showmanship sweeps all ahead of them. But Turner has been doing this all over the States for some time now, so he knows what he’s doing. Coming onstage to Get Better from 2015’s Positive Songs For Negative People, the main man got the crowd going within seconds.
Following the opening number, Turner took a minute to mention the events in Paris and dedicate the show to his fallen friend, before launching into If Ever I Stray. The track, which talks about the importance of doing right by your friends, was a fitting number for the occasion and one that the crowd lapped up in tribute.
As he raced through his set, keeping chitchat to a minimum, he reached the anthemic Peggy Sang The Blues. From the first chord, glasses were raised and the crowd roared back the lyrics, only for Frank to stop playing, and angrily address the crowd: “Is that a fight?! If you want to act like dickheads, GET OUT! I’m not in the mood for that tonight!”
Idiots aside, the show rolled on, as Josephine and Long Live The Queen drilled up an incredible atmosphere, before the Sleeping Souls left the stage and Frank turned up the intimacy with a solo showing, which included the iconic Photosynthesis, Glory Hallelujah and Recovery.
After almost two hours, he tied things up with his latest single The Next Storm, before exiting the stage for less than a minute, only to come back for a much-anticipated, three-track encore.
As the show finally came to an end with Four Simple Words, the crowd was well and truly danced out and fully appreciative of the incredible performance they had just witnessed – even if there were numerous complaints about the restricted view many suffered throughout the show.