Frank Turner at Alexandra Palace
After a career as vocalist for the post-hardcore band Million Dead, Frank Turner now celebrates his tenth year as an accomplished acoustic-based solo artist. On the last date of his sixth studio album tour, Positive Songs for Negative People, the songwriter and his four-piece backing band The Sleeping Souls, amuse an approximate 1,800 fans at Alexandra Palace.
The act starts off sociable, talking to the audience and dividing the crowd into two teams for a sort of singalong battle for the duration of the gig, one side of the room representing guitarist Ben Lloyd and the other side of the room supporting Tarrant Anderson with the bass. However, despite a few fantastically fanatical fans in black merchandise from head to toe, the crowd seem a little too relaxed for the spirited performance. The show starts off slightly hesitant and trite, and it becomes clear the crowd isn’t divided according to Turner’s teams but rather by its own disunion, half exploding with enthusiasm and the rest quiet and still, sipping beer and standing politely.
Alternating blasting rock guitar magic and country-tinged soulful vibes, the band performs tracks from varying sub-genres, demonstrating an ability to maintain an enviable lyrical, vocal and melodical consistency, if somewhat monotonous at times. Finally, leaping from joyful to melancholic pieces from several different albums, and with some not inconsiderable help from the bar, the act manages to warm the crowd up. Josephine, Polaroid Picture and Long Live the Queen are an ascending escalation of energy. The lyrics, “we live to dance another day”, thrust hands to the air as thick beams of white light illuminate a mass of awakened individuals. All of Ally Pally kneels to the floor then springs and bounces towards the ceiling in a choreographic fiery dance for Photosynthesis.
Paying tribute to a friend lost to the Paris attacks with the song Demons, the songwriter encouragingly explains that, after such horrible terrorist atrocities, all there’s left to do is “keep going and keep playing and not be fucking afraid!”.
After a long-lasting indefatigable performance, Turner takes the now refreshed and frisky crowd home by closing with the encompassing Four Simple Words, belting out that “rock and roll will save our lives”.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
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Watch the video for Josephine here: