After hearing of the prolific Frank Turner visiting Llandudno as the first stop on his arena filling UK tour, we headed down to check out the show.
The show was opened by singer-songwriter Will Varley performing hearty anecdotal folk tunes which paint a vibrant picture in your head with an ale-soaked energy and a robin-hood demeanour.
The second support band was Skinny Lister, folk-punk outfit full of young debauched ruffians with traditional instruments, a highlight of the performance was when the bass player decided to crowd surf – double bass and all. Check out ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’ to get an idea of what these guys have to offer, a very exciting performance.
Finally, the man of the night, Frank Turner struts out onto the stage with his backing band – or rather the band backing him (they are a band in their own rite) The Sleeping Souls.
Exploding into fan favourite ‘If Ever I Stray’, instantly everyone in the room is singing along to every single word with a profuse enthusiasm, this would continue throughout the entirety of the show. Frank lets us know what the set has in-store. “We’re going to play some new songs, we’re going to play some old songs, and would you believe it? We’re going to play some mid-period songs too!”
As his first visit to our picturesque seaside town, Frank’s best attempts at pronouncing ‘Llandudno’ are lauded, as he slips it into every song with a displaceable location name possible. He further tries his hand at the Welsh language, by singing the song ‘Eulogy’ entirely in Welsh, needless to say he won a few brownie points with the locals!
Frank slows the show down and stands alone at the front of the stage, guitar in hand, illuminated by a singular spotlight, and tells us the heartbreaking tale of ‘A Song for Josh’, written for a Washington DC Bouncer and friend of Frank who was unfortunately lost to depression.
The set reached its climax with the encore performance of ‘Four Simple Words’, these aforementioned words are “I want to dance” which the entire crowd would scream together before the verse of the song starts and the band stars riffing away in a quasi-hardcore explosion – queue dancing, spilled drinks and moshing.
It wasn’t so much as a performance of one man and his band as it was of the entire attendance, the communal sprit of the show was very much one of collective friendship.
All in all, the show was filled with theatrics, crowd camaraderie, and unresistable sing-a-long lyrics. The rawness of Frank’s recordings always reflect well when you can appreciate the authenticity in his live show. Absolutely the same standard of music.
Thanks to Xtra Mile Recordings for providing tickets.