Tracks Monkeys With Lasers


Frank Turner @ New Slang, McClusky’s – 27/08
August 31, 2009, 5:07 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: , , , , , ,

This had been a gig I’d only decided to go to at the last minute, getting my ticket from Banquet Records just the day before as I’d originally planned to go along to see another band that night (the night itself was a ‘New Slang’ night at the venue put on by Banquet themselves). As regular followers of TMWL will know, I’m what you may call a fan of Frank’s (see the other two or three reviews of his I’ve done) and McClusky’s was also a venue I’d never been to so in the end it was an easy to decision to make to go along. On the evening of the gig I also found out he was playing with his band and this would be the first show of his I’d not seen solo, making it an even better decision!

After making the trip down to Kingston I managed to find my way to the venue (with the help of two guys; one of which was Frank’s guitarist who I didn’t recognise to start with) and after hanging out on the river for a bit I made my way inside after navigating security heavier than that I had to go through at the airport only a few weeks back.

Once in, I was pretty surprised at the scale of the venue as the places I’d seen him in beforehand had always been much smaller. It was also a pretty cool place and the bar was pretty reasonable as well (always a bonus!) So after a drink, it was time to head over to the stage for the first support act of the night, Dave House.

Before the show I’d only heard Dave House’s new album ‘Intersections’ which was pretty good but felt a bit too overproduced to me. Live though, the songs I knew came across much better. The set opener, Lungs, was one such track; everything about it sounded so much better live than on record. Like Frank later, Dave also played with his band and altogether they were great with a really tight performance and really good energy. There was a nice mix of new tracks (ie ones I knew) and older tracks with one purely acoustic track which mixed up the set a little. Altogether, it was a good opening set from the local lad and he with the band playing, he was a really good front man.

Download ‘Follow Me’ (from 2009’s ‘Intersections’) from here (courtesy of last.fm)

The second support band were Fake Problems; a band Frank has toured with in the States and one of the bands who’ll be supporting him on his UK tour later this year. Before the gig I’d never heard any of their music but they really impressed me. They have a slightly unusual sound that comprises punk rock, folk and Springsteen-esque rock (and on their record even a little bit of ska) but it all comes together really well with a few having good little singalong parts as well. With the guitars flitting between power chords, little riffs and ska twangs, the set was really well varied and went along at a really good pace. The band were all really good individually as well, with the frontman, Chris, really shining as the focal point. I really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them back over here for Frank’s tour. Defnitely ones to check out!

Download ‘The Dream Team’ (from 2009’s ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’) from here (courtesy of last.fm)

And so it was on to the main event of Mr Turner and his merry band. As tradition dictates, they came bounding onto the stage and launched straight into ‘I Knew Prufrock’ with the crowd all singing along which, as always, set the scene for the night. The set itself was a nice mix of some of his older and new stuff with the ‘classics’ all in there, such as Photosynthesis, Substitute, Long Live The Queen and The Real Damage, but there was also a smattering of material off the new album with The Road, Try This At Home, Live Fast Die Old and Poetry Of The Deed all getting outings.

As I said previously, I’ve seen Frank play solo a number of times before but with a band it was completely different; everything from how much better some of the songs sounded to Frank’s presence on stage. All of the songs I’d heard live had such a different feel to them with the guitars, drums and piano playing as well as Frank’s acoustic. Even simple songs like The Real Damage felt different with the simple piano line playing alongside the guitar. This different sound made the experience so different to what I’d seen previously and made it into more of a ‘gig’ with everyone dancing along as this never happened so much at his acoustic shows. And, as I said, the fact that Frank had a backing band ‘freed’ him up on stage so he was happy to rock out on stage and looked like he was enjoying himself massively because of it.

All of this meant it was such a different atmosphere to the shows I’d seen before and is probably the best show of his I’ve seen because of it. Songs I’d heard before were taken to another level and the band were all great and this all made the atmosphere of the gig absolutely brilliant. Frank deserves all the success currently coming his way and I can’t wait until the Shepherds Bush show now!

Audio live from McClusky’s;

Follow Me – Dave House

Don’t Worry Baby – Fake Problems

The Road – Frank Turner

The Real Damage – Frank Turner

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