Frank Turner – Lemon Tree – 16/02/11
So this gig was meant to happen in December, but because of the bloody snow, we had a nice two month wait to build the anticipation and excitement. Along with this, a wee crush on Frank Turner built up inside me having researched all about him for almost two solid months. If Frank Turner sneezed, I knew about it. This lead me to boring my friends all night about “interesting” little facts about him, did you know he was born in Bahrain? And that he wrote and recorded an EP in 48 hours? Who doesn’t need to know these things?
Originally, support was meant to come from Dive Dive, a rock band from Oxford signed to the same label as Frank Turner. Tonight though, as part of his new tour (does this man ever stop?) support comes from Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, a country, folk, punk band from Englandshire. Unfortunately, due to the cash machine at Morrisons being busy, and having to run into the shop to buy chewing gum for cash back, we kinda missed the first bit of their set. What I did catch of them was good, a kinda Mumford and Sons kinda sound, very “current”. The one song that did prick my ears up was about David Cameron and his men and how not very nice they are, although the band themselves used slightly stronger language than that. It started off quiet and acappella like many of their songs. Simple, and yet powerful, would definitely check out these guys again.
The two month anticipation is over, and Frank Turner takes to the stage wearing a white shirt that gradually turns slightly see-through as his set progresses and the venue turns sweaty. Opening with Eulogy which interestingly, cannot be found on any album or LP released (another wee fact for you there). We hear songs from Frank’s three albums, along with some new material from his recently records album; a few of my personal favourites are thrown in there, with I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous and The Road getting the crowd singing along. Off the new album which was only recorded a few weeks ago, he plays a song about his gran, who he used to play cards with when he was younger. He explains that when he was about 11, she looked across the table at him and asked if he’d ever tasted whisky, and was happy to give him whisky if she thought it would make her win at cards. The whole gig, Frank was interacting with the crowd, explaining little stories like that about his gran and just having a great time. It was evident by the smile on his face how much he was enjoying it, almost as much as the crowd I would say!
Love and Ire Song next, a song about being sure when you’re young, and being unsure when you’re old. Very relatable, like many of his songs. One final new song before moving on to play the hits, although he didn’t specify it was his hits, I was kinda expecting a bit of S Club 7 maybe, PJ and Duncan possibly, but I’ll settle for Frank Turner hits. The smiling, charismatic singer subdues somewhat to play his most sentimental song, Love Live The Queen, a song about Lexie, a dear friend of his who died of cancer. This is probably the only point during the set where Frank didn’t have a huge smile on his face, and he sung the whole song with his eyes closed, clearly feeling the emotion of the song. Must be a powerful thing, hearing a crowd full of people singing back a song with meaning so close to your heart. Almost had over emotional me in tears.
Before leaving the stage, Frank introduced each of his band members and each got a big cheer from the crowd, nothing like the size of the cheer for Frank himself though. He returned to the stage to a room full of cheering Aberdonians to perform a two song encore, finishing with my favourite Frank Turner song, Photosynthesis. With the low ceiling and tightly packed crowd, the atmosphere was amazing, hot, but amazing. Perfect finish to the gig. When leaving the Lemon Tree, I overheard one girl say to her friend, “I saw some people just standing watching, how can you stand still to that?” and I would be inclined to agree. What an upbeat finish, leave us on a high Frank!
Mr Frank Turner, amazing, charismatic entertainer. Clearly enjoying playing his set as much as the crowd were watching and listening. One of the best gigs I’ve been to in a long time! JoJo.
Frank Turner Website
Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun MySpace