Have You Heard? Frank Turner is Insane(ly good at what he does)

A Review of the Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls Concert on Oct 18 at the Neptune Theater

It’s no secret that I am a big, huge folk punk fan. I live it, I breathe it, I put it on my playlist as a DJ every week. So I think it’s important to keep that in mind as I talk about this show.

There were two openers for the show. Unfortunately, I missed the first act (Koo Koo Kanga Roo). I’m pretty bummed as I would’ve like to have seen this interactive dance duo go for it in the Neptune. By “go for it” I mean that I assume they really gave it their all as performers and, in my humble opinion, it might not have been the right crowd to try that with. I mostly say that because they finished their act about 5 minutes prior to me walking in the door and everyone who could be sitting down, was sitting down (pretty quietly). I’m sure they rocked it, though, and that the crowd was much more interactive when they were actually performing.

The second opener was a folk punk band called The Smith Street Band from Melbourne, Australia. I was fortunate enough to actually see this act. I think the greatest part of their act was the fact that each of the band members clearly did not care what the audience thought of them. You see this a lot at punk shows; the band is there to play and if you’re there to listen…cool! It’s not that they don’t care about the audience, it’s that they are going to play their music and rock super hard and if you want to join in AWESOME but if not, they’re not going to let you drag them down. Their act was really rad to watch because of that. It was also pretty cool because they are making some pretty great folk punk music.

And then a wonderful thing occurred: Frank Turner walked on stage. Folks, Frank Turner absolutely blew me away at that concert. This man is from England and he has been producing music “actively” since 2001 (yeah, that was more than 10 years ago, isn’t time weird?). You’d think that after all this time, he’d either be tired or broken or just out of things to write about. You would be so, so wrong. He just came out with a new album, Tape Deck Heart, this year and it is beautiful. It definitely has more  a “pop” feel to it on record but when he performed live, there wasn’t a hint of popular feel at all. He was pure folk punk. He performed with his backing band, The Sleeping Souls, and they really amazed me as well.

The thing that really needs to be understood about this tour/show is this: Frank Turner hurt his back really badly earlier on in the tour. He was wearing a brace throughout the show and needed to do a physiotherapy session after the concert. Frank certainly did not seem to be a stranger to pain but he was literally wincing and closing his eyes due to pain throughout the whole show. I’m not saying that to knock him at all, this guy definitely pulled it together and gave us an incredible concert. He wasn’t slowed down by the pain one bit. He and the band just constantly interacted with the crowd in a very caring and loving way (but it was very punk, don’t worry). A very enthusiastic fan threw a bra up on stage and the band/audience somehow convinced Frank Turner to put it on. After a very uncomfortable few seconds, he took it off, but I think that just shows how much he cares even more.

Even though he was strongly advised against it, Frank came out and played guitar for us. He played Nirvana to show his Seattle spirit and, can I just say, it was beautiful. I would use that word to describe a lot of things that happened that night. Especially his last encore song, “Four Simple Words”. Choosing to end with a song like that lets you know that not only does Frank Turner understand how to put on a good show, he knows how to end with a song that uplifts you and keeps you wanting more. I can only hope that this guy comes back to Seattle soon. We also caught him right before things with his back turned really south. He’s had to postpone a lot of upcoming shows which is a total bummer but I feel really lucky to have seen him when I did.

-Jasmine Schwartz/Regular Misplacer of Left Socks/News Director

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