After queuing up behind a mix of women in cardigans, teenagers in black leather jackets and middle aged men, I was left wondering what kind of gig that would be. What I didn’t anticipate what quite how impressed I was going to be a couple of hours later.
I was standing outside The Jailhouse in Hereford, a nightclub-slash-small gig venue, where Frank Turner and his band, The Sleeping Souls, were performing just twice before the venue is to shut at the end of the year. The venue may be much smaller than Wembley Arena (a venue which Frank Turner sold out and played to 12,000 people back in 2012) but playing Hereford’s Jailhouse meant he could show his love and support for local venues and urge the hundred person audience to do the same.
Let me explain that before that moment I had only heard Frank Turner’s music when it came blasting out of my housemates speakers and as this was fairly often, I had become familiar with a majority of the songs on the albums ‘Tape Deck Heart’ and ‘England Keep My Bones’. Don’t get me wrong, I was not at all opposed to his music! In fact, it was really catching with me and it was slowly making its way into my own music library, but was not yet at the stage where I felt I could turn up to one of his gigs! The reason I was there was because the same housemate I previously mentioned begged me to go with her, describing Frank Turner to her as what 5SOS are to me.
So that’s how I ended up at my first Frank Turner gig, in a crowd of about a hundred people, from the age of 18 to maybe 50 years old, with every single one singing along to the lyrics “now who’d have thought that after all, something as simple as rock ‘n’ roll would save us all.”.
He started off the gig playing each exclusive track that will appear on his next album, one which hasn’t even been recorded yet! And despite singing a bunch on songs that no-one in the room knew, he still managed to keep everyone involved and keep everyone singing along to what they could. Everyone in the room was ecstatic to hear these songs that no-one else outside of that gig would get to hear until the album is recorded and released next year. One thing he did request, in this very much 21st Century world we live in, was that everyone put their phones and cameras away for those exclusive songs, to make sure they wouldn’t be published online before he has the chance to release them himself. And everyone did. It was a strange sight to see, no-one holding any form of technology to record the gig. It was refreshingly nice to see people actually listening and enjoying live songs in the way they are meant to be enjoyed; in the moment, rather than watching them through the little screens of their phones while they’re recording.
Frank was meant to perform. That is something I know for certain after seeing him. He filled the room with his stage presence and didn’t fail to include the audience. With every new song he played, he explained the meaning or the background behind the song and it really proved how much he puts his own experiences and feelings into his work. He is also a man with a lot of stories to tell and even the select few anecdotes he shared during the gig were entertaining enough to leave us wanting to know more about him!
I can also safely say that I have never seen so much energy at a gig, from both the audience and the artist. When he later moved on to singing his hits, the whole crowd were jumping up and down, arms in the air, screaming the lyrics in time with the men on the stage. The atmosphere was incredible. It may have been the smallest venue I’ve ever been to, but it was the biggest reaction I’ve ever seen.
Even when the gig finished the energy kept going. The crowd was still buzzing, exhilarated after just witnessing the talent that is Frank Turner live.
Adding to the energy, he then appeared by the bar to meet the fans that had hung around in the hope that such a thing would happen! My housemate was one of the many who had a hug, photo and autograph from the singer! (And I am someone who has not stopped hearing about it since! But to be honest, it’s exactly what I was like after I spoke to 5SOS on the phone!)
He was amazing, every single song was sang brilliantly and his interaction with the crowd was really entertaining. He is definitely one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen…! His band were also crazy talented, particularly the drummer but I’m always impressed with the drummer!
What I’ve got out of this gig:
- new found love for Frank Turner
- memories of a very good and very impressive gig!
- the knowledge that one doesn’t simply like Frank Turner. One must LOVE Frank Turner.