There’s been some pretty incredible stuff released over the past 12 months and here’s my favourite of the bunch:
In April Frank Turner headlined the world renowned Wembley Arena, so by his standards this tour is rather intimate, even if tonight is the biggest headline show on this late Autumn run, the 3,000 capacity Wolverhampton Civic. As soon as you enter the door Mr Turner’s own brand of wheat beer is being flogged to this evening’s audience, because why wouldn’t you want to enjoy one of your favourite musician’s personal beverage? That said, The Civic’s three bars also feature rather lengthy queues, as everybody’s here to drink, sing, and have a good time.
That’s probably why tonight’s openers, Cheltenham’s own Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, get such a good reception. Especially when you couple it with the quartet’s energy, and stage presence, which would give anyone a run for their money. From intricate folk melodies to big, bold guitars the group pretty much have something for everyone and pull it off very, very well.
In almost total contrast, as far as folk vs folk can go, Tim Barry takes the stage alone with nothing but an acoustic guitar. Unlike the relentless Jim Lockey Barry takes his time, and let’s the crowd into not just his songs but, what feels like, his life through both song and story. He somehow manages to connect with all 3,000 onlookers, despite his minimalist set-up.
Then, finally, it’s time for Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, who are quickly becoming part and parcel of the FTHC experience. Turner kicks off with ‘I Am Disappeared’, and almost immediately has the crowd singing and bouncing, before heading straight into fan favourite ‘The Road’. As lively a start as you’re likely to see, but that’s to be expected from this punk turned folk hero who also has a main stage Reading Festival appearance under his belt. ‘Redemption’ really shows the true range of the man, starting rather softer but slowly building into a rather epic centerpiece, with a huge sound and passion right at its core.
It’s not just recent songs that get an airing, ‘The Real Damage’ and, at the request of one fan, ‘A Decent of Cup of Tea’, both from Turner’s first album, make an appearance. The former in particular getting one of the loudest responses of the evening. ‘Four Simple Words’, a new track, brings with it a exciting opportunity to dance. The Turner bandwagon seems to have come up with the idea of pitting the towns and cities of the UK against one another in a dance competition and tonight Wolverhampton are really on it - jumping, gliding across the floor, even a few jives going on - by the end they’re most definitely sitting atop the league table.
The set closes with a ‘rocked-up’ version of ‘Dan’s Song’ where Turner takes the mic and gets down in with the crowd. It’s a fantastic way to finish, and as people pour back onto the streets of the West Midlands there’s a real positive feeling, which is almost exactly what Turner seems to set out to instill, another job well done then.
This is a link to Mystery Jets photos as well as a load of stuff I’ve shot this year! Definitely need to get into shooting more frequently!