Sunday, 22 April 2018

Frank Turner

April 21st 2018

The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh

This was an odd choice of venue, I felt, for Frank Turner to choose for the Edinburgh stop on his Be More Kind world tour.  Nothing wrong with The Liquid Rooms, it is one of my favourites, but the last time I saw the man in town he had sold out the 2,200 capacity Usher Hall.  The Liquid Rooms, by contrast, holds just 800.  Or at least the fire regulations say so.  Given the frankly (pun intended) at times dangerous crush in the place, I would suggest Frank and The Sleeping Souls performed to at least 1,000 folks last night.  I am guessing/hoping these intimate venue stops on the current leg of the tour are a prelude to the announcement of more dates at larger venues.

We had two support acts, the first being The Homeless Gospel Choir.  Now, I cannot say for sure that the act was not presently homeless, but what we got was certainly not a choir of any sort.  What did appear on stage was a curly-haired, rather well-nourished and large-boned individual in a wonderfully garish suit, which looked as if it had been tailored from some dotty aunt's bedroom curtain offcuts.  Derek Zanetti – for the Choir is he – put me in mind of Jonathan Richman, his stripped back to the bone tunes performed in a slightly childlike voice, but with unerringly perceptive lyrics championing the outsider.  All executed with a twinkle in his eye.  Fine fun.

Canadian band The Arkels then presented us with an enjoyable half-hour of their Motown influenced alt-rock.  Charismatic front man Max Kerman's voice was in fine form, but I was drawn to Mike DeAngelis' excellent guitar work, particularly his deep twangy sound on My Heart's Always Yours.

The Homeless Gospel Choir.

No Photoshop here.  Just a shoogly shot of The Arkels' Max Kerman, which sort of accidentaly turned out cool.
At least I thought so.

The band, we learned, met this lady in Aberdeen at the previous evening's gig....
and invited her upstage tonight to thrash.  Did someone say "groupie"?

The Arkels - Edinburgh 2018

Frank Turner - Edinburgh April 2018

Within minutes of taking the stage, it became apparent Frank Turner was not a well man.  Coughing between and even during tunes, he was also drenched in sweat by just a few songs in.  And that distinctive voice was, at times, only barely discernible.  Clearly, attempting to sing with anything like his usual intensity had Frank in some pain, as I saw him repeatedly wince.  But he battled on like a trouper. 

Fortunately, in contrast to the practically vocals-free Jethro Tull gig I had attended recently, the advantage Frank enjoys over Ian Anderson, is that pretty much all of his tunes are joyous singalongs.  And Frank was able to fly by the seat of his pants, by having us all fill in the gaps where the voice failed him completely.  Even the new ones, I was impressed to note, had already been learnt word for word by much of the room.

I did smile at the irony of a couple of the titles early in the set (Get Better & Recovery) sung by our ailing hero.

Get Well soon, Mr T.

Set List

Get Better
The Next Storm
Losing Days
Make America Great Again
Be More Kind
I am Disappeared
The Road
If I Ever Stray
Nashville Tennessee
Reasons Not To Be an Idiot
Glory Hallelujah
Journey of the Magi
St Christopher is Coming Home
The Way I Tend To Be
The Ballad of Me and My Friends
Out of Breath

I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
I Still Believe
Four Simple Words
Polaroid Picture

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls
Edinburgh April 2018

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