There’s one thing I’ve learned from playing Rock Band—when you’ve hit every note and done right by the audience, the crowd gets energized and sings along. Frank Turner didn’t miss a note. His fans took his request from his song Four Simple Words to heart and didn’t let him sing a single song alone at his Columbus, Ohio performance.
I remember there was a time when I was a kid, going to live performances just didn’t sound as good as the studio recording. Something seemed to be missing. Maybe it was the music I listened to that couldn’t be recreated live. Maybe it was the energy of the crowd. Maybe it just wasn’t Frank.
When you see a Frank Turner show, you get much more. Who has two opening bands and plays for two hours in Ohio?
Homeless Gospel Choir, with his political wit and endearing lyrics, was clearly hand-picked by Frank himself to start the night. I almost got something in my eye there, Derek. Almost …
Beloved Columbus natives, Two Cow Garage just wrapped up their tour with Frank and the Sleeping Souls.
They had a proper homecoming set as you might expect, but so did Frank …
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls’ newest release is Positive Songs for Negative People. They riddled the 22-song set with songs from each of their full length releases. Mentioning that Lemmy died on his birthday, Frank covered Motörhead’s Ace of Spades. (The evening’s setlist).
They brought the audience’s energy level to eleven, then, before they tore the roof off, allowed everyone a break with some great conversation or a heartfelt ballad.
Encouraging audience participation, Frank didn’t extend a four-minute song into oblivion in an attempt to direct the crowd into cooperating. He started a competition between the two halves of the hall and let us take it from there.
He sent his friend Vanessa Speckman into the audience to crowd surf, so of course later, he had to make a go at it too. Vanessa would also decide which side of the venue gave the most support.
Frank is an entertainer. He is a proper storyteller with heart and just enough politics to make a point, but not rub anyone the wrong way. It is all an art. And he’s crafted it wonderfully.
It is hard to believe this wasn’t a hometown performance. Frank Turner is from a village in Hampshire, England not Ohio. Spotify declares his most popular listening locations, to be Portugal, the UK, and Serbia. We don’t even make the list in the US.
This may be Frank’s typical set with the Sleeping Souls, but for the evening, it was ours. Those guys on stage made us feel like we were among our closest 1,500 friends and all involved in a reunion of Frank’s biggest fans. You could have a limited knowledge of his lyrics, the guy three rows behind (and everyone in between) had your back. It was all we could do to show our appreciation for the music.
Frank can make a song about the futility of life uplifting, “And we’re definitely going to hell, but we’ll have all the best stories to tell”. This show will be one of those stories, and the next time you and the Sleeping Souls are in town, drinks are on me, Frank.