Guess what I did last Tuesday? Went to Calgary to see a gorgeous amazing magnificent man sing and dance… Frank Turner! Most of the time I talk about Frank Turner, I get a “…Who?” response, until I share the awesomeness that his music is. So if you don’t know who he is, he is an amazing musician and definitely worth checking out. -> http://frank-turner.com/
This was actually my second time at one of his shows; the first one was back in New Zealand in 2012. It was one of the most awesome days of my life (so far) because 1. The show was kick ass, 2. It was also the same day as my graduation from university.
That time, I had only about 4 hours of sleep the night before, had to sit through a stupidly long graduation ceremony with a torturous hangover, and then boarded a plane to Auckland to see Frank Turner play at the Kings Arms Tavern. When I finally got there, it was the best show I had been to in my life, and also still is. It was in a small pub, with a small crowd of extremely loyal fans, and after his set Frank started drinking with everyone and even gave me a hug! Yay!
This recent show I went to was in Calgary at the University in MacEwan Hall. It was a larger venue than the Kings Arms, still small and intimate, though it was good to see a substantial crowd. I think the venue capacity there is 1000. The only downside to the venue is that it was all ages (don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sharing Frank’s awesomeness with kids), however this meant that no alcohol was allowed in. They did provide a beer garden, which we fully utilised before the gig, but it would have been nice to have a couple during the show as well.
The crowd in Calgary was great. Frank likes to make his shows fun and interactive with emphasis on audience participation, and the audience in Calgary was completely into that. Back at the Auckland show in 2012, it was a small pub, and literally 99% of the crowd were die-hard fans singing along to every single lyric. There weren’t as many people singing along at the Calgary show, but still a fair few. Frank called for a show of hands to determine how many people were seeing him perform for the first time. The majority of the room put their hands up. By the end of the show, almost everybody was converted to the religion that is Frank Turner music, singing along, clapping, and cheering wildly.
Frank performed every single one of his songs to perfection. Unfortunately, earlier this year he had to cancel a few of his shows in England due to a spinal injury. His doctor finally gave him a bill of health to go back to performing on the condition that he doesn’t play with his guitar because that causes strain on his spine. Frank went back to performing, but without his guitar he almost looks naked on the stage. Naturally, even with a back injury, his performance was extra ordinary and I was completely in awe with every single breath that came out of his mouth, though there may be a bit of bias coming from me.
There is one song from his new album that I didn’t particularly care for right from the start – Broken Piano. It is a rather different style to Frank’s usual stuff, and on the CD I thought it is rather overbearing with the piano organ tones as well as a mildly screechy voice. However, even this was much more incredible and flawless performed live. Frank will never cease to amaze me with his music.
Frank Turner would not be the same without his backing band who deserve a mention. They have named themselves ‘The Sleeping Souls’, and they are amazing in their own right, bringing bundles of energy along to accompany Frank. Of course, they played flawlessly as well, stepping back only a couple of times for Frank to sing solo.
For his encore, Frank took up his guitar for one song only, a cover of a song called ‘Plea from a cat named Virtute’ by The Weakerthans. It is written from the point of view of a cat, so naturally it is one kick ass song. The Weakerthans are a Canadian band, so it was a good choice for Frank to play this song in a Canadian city, a few fans even sang along to this one too. It was awesome to see him with his guitar again, and see the look of joy that playing brings him.
The final song of the set was Four Simple Words, and it was tons of fun. Frank instructed everyone to dance, sing, and clap at the same time, and everyone in the room had fun at least trying to do so. The four simple words being ‘I want to dance’, for everyone to remember for the next time they come to a show. I will definitely be awaiting my next FT concert… whenever that may be, hopefully soon.