Returning to Newcastle for a fifteenth time, Frank Turner surpassed all expectations on Sunday evening.
Arkells were the perfect warm up, frontman Max Kerman inciting the crowd ‘to make it feel like a Friday’ and to the backdrop of big riffs and catchy choruses, the crowd quickly got on board. The Canadians appealed to the crowd further by offering the wonderful gesture of inviting one lucky onlooker up to play guitar with them – the fortunate recipient took the opportunity with both hands, helping the band endear themselves to the audience further. A five piece that truly looked like they enjoyed every second onstage, it was impossible for their infectious energy not to translate to the crowd and no doubt they’ll have gained new British fans as a result.
Frank Turner capitalised on the high spirits of the crowd by quickly injecting his own energy into the set, while the Sleeping souls matched Frank for versatility as they powered through classics such as ‘Recovery’ and ‘I Am Disappeared’.[pullquote]Perhaps the intelligent, politically-charged lyrics may not quite be appreciated by some of the younger fans in the audience[/pullquote]
Turner told the crowd that he had only two rules: one being that everyone should behave and get along…although he went about it in a slightly more profane way set the night up perfectly. The precedent was established and rarely has there been a crowd so unison from start to finish. As Turner ran through tracks right through from album one to his much anticipated seventh, the crowd’s volume was maintained throughout, demonstrating his longevity.
Indicative of his astounding versality, he went from upbeat songs, such as ‘The Opening Acts of Spring’ into an acoustic version of ‘Anymore’ whilst his band took a well-deserved rest. Fans also got a first taste of the upcoming album when they opened with a new but seemingly classic political punk song, ‘1933’. Perhaps the intelligent, politically-charged lyrics may not quite be appreciated by some of the younger fans in the audience, though the strength of the chorus will no doubt have crowds of all ages eager to sing it back to him. The sincerity of the song was confirmation, if any was needed, that Frank is sticking to the principles that have made him so successful already.
Turner’s energy seemed to grow rather than waver as the set reached its climax after the encore, as he went on several bouts of crowd surfing, even going as far as to drop into the crowd and spread them out around him ready for a mosh pit. All whilst managing to somehow continue singing throughout the penultimate song ‘Four Simple Words’.
The night came to a close with the altered songbook version of ‘Polaroid Picture’, which culminated in the rousing repetition of the sentimental verse including ‘Hold close to the ones that you love, because we won't all be here this time next year’, as everyone longed for the show to go on.
Seldom does a singer’s personality shine through his songs and his performance so clearly which, along with his unique mix of punk and folk rock, is what makes him such a talent. Despite it being Turner’s 2,157th show, he had all the energy and enthusiasm of a novice, and his bumper twenty three song set emphasises that he has no ideas of letting up any time soon.