Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls


Frank will always be one of my favourites so heading down to Manchester Academy on Friday night it feels like I’m coming home, and I bounce in to the delightful sounds of The Homeless Gospel Choir, much to my ear’s delight.

The ironic satire of Derek Zanetti is reminiscent of early Tenacious D, but with more bite and a lot more personal emotion. Designed to have you giggling at first and then thinking the next, the crowd is on his side immediately and he’s a fantastic opener.

Next up, and really quickly (this crew is wicked fast) are Canadian rockers Arkells. They’re straight on to Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ and we’re into the world of drums and guitars. The warm crowd is with them right away, with the nostalgic ‘Leather Jacket’ rolling off the tongue effortlessly, whilst the futuristic, poppy sounds of ‘Private School’ bringing smiles. The six piece has fantastic stage presence and fills the venue with banter about Trump, brings a guy up on stage to play along with them and gets everyone on side with screams of “You’d better be ready to sing, you’d better be ready to dance”.

Then we’re ready for Frank and his latest venture, the Sleeping Souls.

The opener from his back catalog starts us off and we’re straight into the stage leaps, anger and bitterness that we all know and love.

He’s fresh onto the tour tonight and if the sell-out opening night is anything to go by everyone is in for a right treat – this is the best I’ve ever seen him and out of the probably hundreds of gigs I’ve been to in my 30 years, this is one of the best.

Video clips of his travels accompany ‘Make America Great Again’, before the mashup of old and new whips everyone into a frenzy. Frank’s sore throat eventually takes its toll but luckily the crowd is happy to scream along until he’s ready to get back to it.

‘The Way I Tend To Be’ has definitely stood the test of time and supplements the new, softer sounds of ‘Be More Kind’ beautifully – I challenge anyone to listen to this song and not feel empowered and positive. Frank also reminds us of his desire for his shows to be inclusive and accessible now, reminding us to love our neighbour and highlight the support group for those with learning difficulties that he’s invited tonight. Lovely.

A bit of audience participation on ‘Photosynthesis’ (the first time I’ve seen a whole show sit down on the floor because an artist told them to!) and then we’re into the oldies but goodies – ‘Prufrock’, ‘I Still Believe’ (which never fails) and ‘Polaroid’ wrap us up nicely.

Frank is absolutely on form right now, his support are clearly in awe and I’m only sorry that I’m not seeing them again! He opened with “it’s been a while my friends” and I’d agree… let’s not leave it so long next time Mr Turner. We missed you.

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