Live. Frank Turner

For those not familiar with Frank Turner, his headline show at Wembley Arena that took place on Friday 13th 2012 might have seemed like a strange booking, but for those of us in on the secret it was just the next step for Frank Turner and his unique punk based folk.

We all know the story of Frank Turner’s slow rise to success. He started off small, and over the past six years has built up his fan base bit by bit through constant tours, incredible live shows and releasing four incredible albums. Through it all, Frank’s done it all by putting the fans first which is why tonight feels like a celebration.

Frank had handpicked the bill, with long-term friend Beans on Toast opening proceedings. I annoyingly missed Beans on Toast and his honest, no holes barred acoustic social commentary due to travel problems but I have it from the man himself that it will go down as his best ever show. Salt in the wound, much.

Next up we Dan Le Sac versus Scroobius Pip and their collaborative political fuelled rap built around heavy dance beats. They showed promise but never really took off. There sound struggled to fill the vast space that is Wembley Arena. Dan le Sac’s bass heavy beats failed to reverberate around the room, or with the audience. Scroobius Pip was clearly passionate about the lyrics he was delivering but he was reading a majority of them from a book, which took the edge off of them. I think Wembley Arena was just too daunting a stage for them.

Billy Bragg came next and was clearly more comfortable in the space then the acts the preceded him. His set was enjoyable and he relished the challenge of the space in front of him while putting in a more polished performance than the Barfly the night before. While Bragg spoke less than the previous night, the moments he did address the crowd where greeted with adulation and respect as he encouraged the crowd to vote in the upcoming local elections as well as speaking about the long line of punk rock singers and how they all led to today. Set highlights were ‘Never Buy The Sun’ and the anathematic “New England’ which received a surge of interest as the audience came alive to sing along.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls took to the stage a little after nine backed by the opening track, ‘Eulogy’ from Frank’s latest album ‘England Keep My Bones’ before Frank proudly shouted “Hello Wembley” The excitement in Frank’s voice was matched two-fold by that of the audience and from then on the gap between artist and audience disappeared and was replaced by a feeling of camaraderie.  The next hour and forty-five minutes were a polished run through of the best of Frank’s back catalogue; from the dark brooding ‘I Am Disappeared’ from his latest release to a powerful yet emptive reworking of ‘Father’s Day’ from his first album ‘Sleep Is For The Week’.

To make this more of a family affair Frank bought on two special guests at different points in the night. Firstly a major musical influence of Frank Turner, his mother, was unsuspectingly bought on to play a harmonica solo during Dan’s Song. Secondly Billy Bragg joined Frank just after the first encore for a stunning rendition of the Dylan classic ‘The Time’s They Are A-Changin’ before ending the show in classic Frank style, a double hitter of ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ and the typical arena trappings of confetti cannons and streamers, that never fail to turn a good closer into an unforgettable euphoric experience.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls put in an amazing performance at Wembley Arena. The crowd and band were united as one for the entirety of the set and atmosphere created by this is near impossible to find at most gigs.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls are a live force to be reckoned with and other bands should take note. Frank’s just announced a series of gigs across the UK for November. I’ve got my tickets; I highly recommend you get yours.


~ by justdip on 02/05/2012.

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