Money, it is usually the enabler to see some of the touring musicians when they come to town. Money would somehow be what kept me from discovering Frank Turner until the release of Tape Deck Heart and not seeing him live for the first time until 2014. I had just discovered the awesome band, Larry and his Flask, at Warped Tour a little prior to the show at Crescent Ballroom so I should have been there in 2012. Though going back to school for a second degree, living off of part time work and financial aid to focus on it, meant I still had to make decisions on when to spend money on a show. No matter, I have still been listening to him for a good four years and he has quickly jumped into my top three favorite musicians. He soon will join NOFX and Less than Jake in ink on my arm. He is not only one of the best song writers, he is one of the best musicians I see live on stage and friendliest to meet. The first time I met Frank in 2014, not only did he make sure I had a good time but asked “This means you’ll be at my next show, right?” I said for sure, and I’ve planned to never miss another Frank Turner show again.
One of the best things about Frank Turner is the supporting music I have seen him bring with him, such as Will Varley tonight, who exemplifies a similar spirit and love of the craft. I would best compare him to another talented individual Frank has helped produce albums for, Beans on Toast. This sometimes serious, sometimes silly folk song singer made for yet another discovery of a musician I hadn’t seen before like Skinny Lister last year. I enjoyed lyrics about cat videos to the story of growing up in “King for a King.” Will shows a great use of symbolism and still some straight honest words. After the show I went to get my first CD from him, and found him up on his merch table singing along with the farewell song over the P.A. He is like Frank, super nice, and excellent in the music he writes.
This year Frank brought along a group from Canada, the Arkells. This group of guys is full of enthusiasm and a jubilant lead singer in Max Kerman. He was in the crowd within a song of the set. Max was talking to the crowd and getting them into the songs.
At one point, he had explained the anecdote of their keyboardist’s, Anthony Carone, claims of being able to play any three Elton John songs. With this, he got the crowd involved further with suggestions of a total of three that Anthony played with no delay. They were all over the stage and using their own words, would be best placed as a Rock ‘n Roll band. Their high energy set is clearly a match for what Frank likes to do, and makes for another excellent complimenting music act for the tour.
Then we come to Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. This man has put on already some of the best performances I’ve seen from a musician. His songs hit with a folk sound, but a punk mentality. Heck, I’ve seen him play Punk Rock Bowling too. He writes some of the most relatable lyrics, echoing sentiments many of us, including myself, have had through life. He advocates in his two rules for a show, to have fun and to sing along if you know the song.
Tonight was no different, with always something new that didn’t happen at the last show. For one, he got one of those audience members who was singing along to get crowd surfed around the entire Livewire venue, hitting specific travel points. Two, he crowd surfed and, at one point, was set down to have a dance with a lucky woman in the audience. Three, while attempting to get a wall of death organized, he turned it into a wall of hugs because on a political note we need to come together and support one another. He explained he doesn’t think people just rely on entertainers and musicians to push the political views, but rather the people feel empowered to do it themselves to make the best impact. Is it a wonder why I, and a lot of others, love to listen to and watch Frank Turner perform?
I stuck it out near the front for a lot of the show, but the moment he had a circle pit happen, I found myself in there. There is so much energy and excitement when I make it out to his shows that just channeling it into the pit makes sense. He played a good twenty songs if I kept track right. Opening up, he had Will Varley out doing a harmonica solo in the first song. The second to last track he brought up kids from the lower audience to do percussion on stage. Frank ended on an abridged, cutting out the slow beginning, version of my favorite song, “Four Simple Words.” If all these words aren’t enough to show this sentiment, then I will also state that I love every time I see Frank Turner live.
Of course, me being me, and it only being midnight by the time I got out of Old Town Scottsdale, I had to find more music on this high. I headed over to watch Chip Hanna, of U.S. Bombs and One Man Army, at Time Out Lounge. His solo stuffs more of a folk and country sound to it, including a fiddle player. However, he still ended on some punk with an awesome cover of Bouncing Soul’s “True Believer.” This night was one awesome night of great music top to bottom.