Frank Turner returned to London’s Roundhouse for his second annual Lost Evenings festival, which ran from the 11th to 14th May. Playing across four nights, the festival showcased some of the most exciting new acts, friends and label-mates of Turner, including Arkells, The Subways, Emily Barker and The Tuts as well as four sets from the man himself. He closed the festival on Monday night with a crowd pleasing greatest hits package.
Supported by his taut, propulsive band The Sleeping Souls, Turner’s 2178th career show provided a perfect example of his brand of chorus heavy, folk-punk rock. Opening with the anthemic ‘I Still Believe’ this was a performance that rarely let up across over 20 songs and almost two hours running time. Tracks such as ‘The Road’ and ‘Wessex Boy’ prove his ability as a traditional folk inspired lyricist, whilst others the socio-political ideals and critiques for which he has drawn the greatest attention, particularly ‘1933’ and ‘Make America Great Again’ from his latest, seventh studio album Be More Kind. Divisive to some, his stances were received wholeheartedly by those in the Roundhouse on the night.
Turner is a charismatic frontman; tall and rangey, he bounds around the stage with endless energy, and manages to take the crowd along with his every step. Despite his often spiky songwriting, onstage he is perfectly affable, polite and genuine throughout. He was complemented by a tight, cohesive band and sound on the night which was dense and rich, keys, drums and guitars layering together to barnstorming effect. Nowhere more evident than on ‘If I Ever Stray’, for which support acts on the night Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and Sean McGowen even joined him onstage for a crowd surfing race, reflective of the feel good nature of the performance.
An acoustic mid-section provided some variation in pace, with tracks such as ‘Tatoos’ and ‘Recovery’ delivered solo. It also provided time for poignant reflection as Turner considered the struggles of an extensive tour schedule prior to the festival as well as the recent loss of his friend, Frightened Rabbits’ Scott Hutchinson. Genuine and engaging, this section felt natural and necessary in the context of the setlist. Turner and the band are, however, at their best when they let loose and deliver the big hearted, electrifying alt-folk with which they have become synonymous.
Turner spoke of the philosophical power he finds in mass sing-alongs, breaking down barriers and creating positive shared experiences. A touch profound maybe, but on the night it felt almost undeniable as pretty much every song renders such a reaction. In the process, Frank Turner continues to prove himself to be one of the most revered live performers in British rock, and this triumphant closing night to Lost Evenings was another successful chapter in his career to date.
Be More Kind is out now on Xtra Mile Recordings / Polydor and available to stream HERE. Turner returns to the UK for the 2019 leg of the Be More Kind Tour, including a performance at London’s Alexandra Palace, dates below and tickets available HERE
Be More Kind Tour
22 – Birmingham Arena, Birmingham
25 – Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
27 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
29 – 02 Academy, Glasgow
01 – Windsor Hall, Bournemouth
02 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
03 – Alexandra Palace, London
Words: William Sutton