This was Frank Turner’s largest Scottish show to date, and despite underlying back pain from a slipped disc suffered last year he displayed all of the qualities which brought him here, via the opening ceremony of the London Olympics and a successfull appearence on Celebrity Mastermind.
There are a few things one can expect at a Frank Turner gig: several sing-alongs; smatterings of punk rock; boundless enthusiasm (both on and off stage) and camaraderie rank amongst them, and they were all there in abundance at the Corn Exchange last night.
From opening number Photosynthesis (the line “so I’ll play and you’ll sing” was never more fitting than last night) to the frenetic finish of Four Simple Words, this was a relentless charge through Frank’s burgeoning career – a career which seemingly appeals to all generations: there were daughters here with fathers, while one elderly couple attempted to relive the experience of an earlier Dylan concert.
There was a fine balance between old and new in the set, with Turner himself noting that he’s careful not to alienate any one person or level of fan base. This was a show for everybody, and so we got Plain Sailing Weather, The Way I Tend To Be, Losing Days and Recovery from the recent Tape Deck Heart – the latter forming the basis of Frank’s scientific experiment to find the loudest city on the UK tour – while older fans appreciated Father’s Day and To Take You Home, which was accompanied by a touching story about Frank’s doomed relationship with a French girl.
But it’s the sing-along element of a Frank Turner gig which really sets it apart from just about any live experience going. Songs like Wessex Boy, If I Ever Stray and I Still Believe almost demand audience participation. At that time, at that place, during those moments, everyone is equal. And that was never more evident than in the first song of the encore when Frank strode onto stage with his acoustic guitar and announced that he wouldn’t be singing the next song – The Ballad of Me and My Friends – the audience would be. And we did. And it was triumphant.
Frank Turner live is an experience every fan of music should enjoy.