Frank Turner at the Vogue Theatre, 9/8/18
It’s the start of a new Era for British punk-folk artist Frank Turner, as he tours in support of his latest record Be More Kind. He’s caught the attention of many new fans since the albums release, which maybe played some part him performing at a venue that hosts all ages shows, the Vogue Theatre.
Frank Turner first appeared on people’s radars in the UK hardcore punk scene in the early 2000s with his band Million Dead. In 2005, following the split of Million Dead, Frank began performing a series of solo shows across the UK and the rest is history. Known for being a hard-working musician with a frequent live performance schedule that sees him touring globally almost non-stop, this is the third time Frank Turner has played in Vancouver in the past two years. The last time he visited he packed out the Commodore. On Saturday he was back at The Vogue with a whole bunch of new songs.
As the humorously self-proclaimed “skinny half-arsed English country singer” took to the stage wearing a crisp white shirt (he ditched his trademark waistcoat a few years back and now opts for a more conventional look at shows), he kicked off his set with “Be More Kind.” The title track from his latest record eased the crowd slowly into the evening.
Pausing after the first few tracks, Frank asked how many audience members were attending their first Frank Turner show. A good percentage of the crowd stuck their arms into the air. He then explained to newcomers that there are two rules at his shows.
Rule one: “Don’t be an asshole.” Rule two: “If you know the words you gotta sing along.”
Frank Turner’s shows have the comfort and togetherness of having a few beers with your friends. A familiarity that brings a room full of strangers together. This is most likely due to the fact that Frank Turner can almost certainly inspire movement in the least foot-tapping person you can think of. As he plays songs about bringing people together, such as “Try This at Home,” and the crowd shouts back lyrics word for word, it’s the kind of escapism, good times, and good music that keeps people going back to see him again and again.
One thing that was difficult to ignore is the cheeriness and positive messages in his newer songs. It seems that the man who previously wrote sad songs about music being his substitute for love and running away from commitments, is now writing tracks that lean more towards being happy love songs!
This might possibly have something to do with his recent engagement. The PMA and lovesick messages seem more evident on his latest record.
This new direction, although it seems to be working in his favour, is not something that is necessarily pleasing all of his fans.
“I never thought I’d see a show where he didn’t play “Long Live the Queen,”” mumbled a fan as the crowd weaved out of the venue.
It’s true, fan favourites such at “Long Live the Queen” off of Love Ire & Song (which is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year) and “The Road” from 2009’s Poetry of the Deed have been staple songs in Frank Turner setlists over the past 10 years and were noticeably missing.
Considering the fast rate that the ever-developing Frank Turner produces music, it comes as no surprise that inevitability some songs no longer make the setlist cut. Although a good time appeared to be had by most, he seemed to have made some questionable choices omitting certain songs on Saturday night.