Gig Review – Frank Turner

King Tut’s 9/8/15

By Fraser Bryce

There’s nothing I love more than a massive artist playing a small venue. There’s something about seeing a band in a smaller environment that warrants a better atmosphere and, in general, a better gig. The same is true for Frank Turner, who announced this King Tut’s show just three days before. Instead of being backed up by The Sleeping Souls, tonight it’s just him and his acoustic guitar, which means the focus is purely on the songs. Good thing it’s Frank Turner we’re talking about here, one of the best songwriters of his generation.

After the slow, more reflective opener of ‘The Angel Inslington’, the set kicks into overdrive with a fantastic version of new single ‘Get Better’, which, judging by the crowd response, has already become a fan favourite. The focus remains on the new material, 8 of the album’s 11 songs are aired, with highlights including the soaring anthem ‘The Next Storm’ to the beautiful ‘Song For Josh’, a song written about a friend of Turner’s who committed suicide, which greatly benefits from the two people near me who WON’T SHUT THE FUCK UP. *ahem* Sorry, it still annoys me greatly.

The rest of the 90 minute set is taken up by songs spanning Turner’s entire career, ranging from ‘Long Live the Queen’ and ‘Love, Ire and Song’ – still his best work in my opinion – to 2013’s “breakup album” ‘Tape Deck Heart’, via the raging punk of ‘Dan’s Song’ and the folkier ‘St Christopher Is Coming Home’. What becomes apparent is that, while the songs are simple, they connect well with the audience, who sing back every word, often at volumes that make it impossible to hear the actual music. I’m not complaining, the last time I saw that happen was at Oasis and look how well they did for themselves. The songs work extremely well in an acoustic setting, and the rapturous response they get suggest that Turner will soon outgrow the venues he plays and become one of the biggest acts in the world.

After the closing run of ‘Recovery’, ‘I Still Believe’ and a cover of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’, everyone in the venue leaves sweaty, hoarse and with a massive smile on their face, knowing full well that they’ve witnessed something special. Frank Turner will return to Glasgow later in the year to play a sold out show at the Barrowlands and, while it has “best night ever” written all over it, it’ll take a lot to beat what I saw in King Tut’s.

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