Frank Turner is no stranger to Newcastle, having performed numerous times in the region throughout his extensive career.
Turner reminisces that following his departure from Hardcore outfit Million Dead, his first solo show in the region was in a friend’s front room no less. From this point on, Turner has played pretty much every venue in the city from small pubs and clubs like the Head of Steam and The Cluny through to the iconic Newcastle City Hall and everywhere in between.
U.S. alt-rock artist Esme Patterson opens the show and tonight she is a long way from her Portland, Oregon home. Patterson recently released her latest studio album We Were Wild, and takes the opportunity to showcase several tracks from the album during her set this evening. These include the likes of “The Waves”, “No River” and “Francine” during which her beautifully sun-kissed vocals mesmerizes the Tyneside audience.
British theatrical outfit Felix Hagen and the Family are up next, and immediately grab the crowd’s attention with their brand of infectious pop-tinged rock, which sits somewhere between Queen and Hairspray The Musical. They truly are a spectacle to behold, and are the surprise package of the night. The band leave the audience more than warmed up for Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls.
During Frank Turner’s extensive career he has amassed an almost cult following. It is therefore of no surprise that tonight’s show at Northumbria University is a complete sellout, you couldn’t shoe horn another person into this room if you tried. Subsequently, It doesn’t take long for the crowd to get hot and sweaty.
Turner’s largely greatest hits set kicks off with a triple whammy of “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous”, “The Next Storm” and “I Still Believe”. The folk-punk troubadour commands the stage and has the audience hanging on every word, as they pogo along to his incredibly infectious feel-good numbers. Esme Patterson returns to the stage for a beautiful rendition of “Silent Key” which features some sublime vocal harmonies from the pair.
Turner slows down the proceedings, standing alone he delivers heartfelt renditions of a “Song For Josh”, “Hits and Mrs” minus the kazoo solo and “The Ballad of Me and My Friends”, which is dedicated to his friend Rachel who hosted his first show in Newcastle in her living room.
One thing which is apparent tonight is the sense of community in the room. During “If I Ever Stray” Turner invites his friend Mikey on stage and challenges him to crowd surf. Carried only by the fans he circumnavigates the venue, making his way to merch desk at the back of the room for a high-five, before traversing the back of the sound desk, taking a selfie with the audience in the corner of the room before being carried back to the stage for much jubilation.
This community sentiment continues throughout the course of the show with Turner’s wall of love, as opposed to what has been more commonly known at metal concerts as the wall of death. In this instance, the crowd parts during an emphatic rendition of set closer “Photosynthesis” and run towards each other but instead of clashing they hug. Throughout the course of the show Turner orchestrates the madness, he also points out that on this tour the band is supporting both the War Child and Safe Gigs For Women charities.
Tonight Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls came out with all guns blazing, and their high energy performance truly captivated the Geordie audience for the duration of their 90-minute show.
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