What to expect from a Frank Turner concert: lots of vulgar tit jokes about your hometown, (and no, he doesn’t even know about Sky Whale), an opportunity to dance the way you do in your room all alone with complete strangers to songs that literally command you to do so and a lot of emotional bonding moments between a jumping, over-excited crowd and a short, tattooed Englishman who laughs as he sings, and doesn’t apologise for anything.
Turner comes to Canberra with his band The Sleeping Souls, a brilliant bunch of musicians who more than complement Frank and his own guitar. Its his first time being here but he makes up for neglecting us with a steady diet of new songs, old songs, demos from yesteryear and crowd favourites, including a few yet-to-be-released newbies like “Get Better”, and a song from his 2013 record, Tape Deck Heart – “The Way I Tend To Be”, which he swears is about the smell of a Koala.
The best thing about Frank is that he is so excited about his new material, (“Folks songs for the modern age” – he calls them) and he wants his audience to be just as thrilled as he is. His energy is totally infectious and we’re not sure if he’d had a bit to drink before the set, but he comes on stage grinning from ear to ear and spends the time between songs telling hilarious anecdotes and openly sharing little personal stories about what (or who) has inspired his music. Frankly (pun not intended), he does a hell of a lot more talking than any band I’ve ever seen, and we love him for it.
“I Still Believe” is his last (official) song on stage, but it’s clear to everybody there that he will make a reappearance as the crowd (who all know the usual routine well), yell “one more song” at the curtains drawn over the offstage area. And of course, he does, returning with a vengeance, to play three more songs.
The thing about a Frank Turner concert is that it feels like you’re a part of something. Frank really believes in the power of what he does, and if you don’t come out of it feeling the same way, then you’re a lost cause.