50 states in 50 days…. that seems like a mountainous task; doesn’t it?
Maybe so but it’s a challenge that Frank Turner has taken on, joined by support bands Pet Needs and The Bronx.
The past 2 years and the obstacles that came with dealing with a worldwide pandemic became all too familiar but now here we are, travel has opened up again and finally we are starting to see a world that feels just a little more like the old days. This light at the end of the tunnel was something that Turner was ready to reach out and grab with both hands. Having last set foot in the USA for his tour supporting his Be More Kind album Frank was long over due for a visit and he was determined to get to as many places as he could.
We were lucky enough to catch his show in Music City at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl.
A big support and friend to his first support act, Pet Needs are local to Franks hometown in Essex, UK (which also happens to be my hometown!) and were a great opener. The energy that they brought to the stage was just the perfect amount to get the crowd ready for the main event. They were followed by California based band, The Bronx, who came out continuing that big punk rock energy and just rounded out the start of the night.
Fans were eager to see the main event and the atmosphere was buzzing. Then the lights went down and the crowd went wild as the man of the hour, Mr Frank Turner, stepped out onto the stage.
Opening the night with ‘Four Simple Words’, it was the perfect opener, watching a sea of fans jumping in unison with Turner as he bounced around the stage. There was something magical about just watching people let it all go and just enjoy the music. It is no secret recently that the US has been struggling with a major political divide and certain laws and decisions have been made which feel very much like they are tearing apart relationships. I don’t like to always write about these things in articles but it was something that Turner also addressed later in the show and really something that especially now, in these times, in the harsh reality of what is the world we live in, these moments are something to savour. To remember.
Next up was ‘The Gathering’ which was then followed up by ‘Haven’t Been Doing Too Well’.
“I got a brand new name for an old, old friend. The doctor said it’s anxiety”
Unfortunately an all too relatable song for many and lyrics that really seem to hit home. There is something about the tone and conviction in Frank Turners voice that just keeps you captivated in every word he sings and brings realness to the punk/folk that he delivers. With meaningful lyrics and melodies that seem to surprise you just as you get complacent.
Photosynthesis, Plain Sailing Weather, If Ever I Stray, The Ressurrectionists, 1933 and Love Forty Down all came leading up to the live debut of Little Life; a song from the new record featuring KT Tunstall on the album version. It felt like a fitting place to debut the track, in a town it is clear Turner has a strong pull too; which as a musician I suppose is not too surprising. ‘I Am Disappeared’ and ‘The Next Storm’ followed before Frank broke down any walls that may be left by sharing a story of his personal journey with his father. A broken relationship for many years Turner ended up finding solice in an unexpected relationship with Miranda; the new found life his father found to live as a proud transgender woman; finally able to share his happiness in a way she never could before and the story also of a new found relationship, friendship and respect from Frank for this new figure in his life.
“And after everything that we’ve been through. Miranda, it’s lovely to meet you”
As the song ended his band left the stage and Frank took to the mic, just him and his guitar. After playing ‘There She Is’ he joked about being a folk artist and the fact he had never learned to play harmonica; it was that moment he bought out John Marriott, lead singer of Pet Needs, to join him on the harmonica for ‘Dan’s Song’.
After this Turner took the chance to address the audience about the overturning of Roe vs Wade something that was very fresh in everyones mind having only been decided just over a week prior to the show.
“I stand in solidarity with all my female friends”
In his own words, Frank Turner refers to himself as a punk artist masquerading as a folk artist which I would maybe be inclined to agree with if he didn’t do that folk thing so damn well. The attitude and energy he brings, firmly rooted in his love for punk is evenly matched but the folky charm of his acoustic guitar and story telling lyrics.
‘The Way I Tend To Be’, ‘Non Serviam’, ‘Polaroid Picture’, ‘Get Better’, ‘The Ballad Of Me and My Friends’, ‘Recovery’, ‘Try This at Home’ and ‘I Still Believe’ rounded out his set for the evening.
A natural born performer, Turners energy lit up that stage and i have no doubt in my mind that his 50 States in 50 Days tour will continue to be a roaring success. This feat also marks a first for the British singer-songwriter having started in Manchester, NH and ending in Honolulu, HI on August 1st.
Maybe you are reading this and you arent familiar with Franks work, if that is the case I urge you to take the journey to discover his music. With a career that spans 15 years there is a lot to delve into and we guarantee you will not be disappointed.
This was our first review of Franks live show but we certainly hope that it will not be our last.