Frank Turner at Brixton Academy
Frank Turner rocked a packed-out Brixton Academy with boundless energy on Sunday night. The audience comprised a healthy mix of millennial and slightly older folks, all on their best behaviour – particularly after the singer announced his number one rule: “Don’t be a dickhead!” His banter went on at times, drawing on easy political themes to rouse the audience: “This is an antifascist song! Kind of annoying we have to play songs like this in 2022, but here we are.” The song in question was called 1933, and it had folks singing and dancing along to the booming kick drum.
He introduced the band’s new drummer, Callum Green, with great gusto, asking him if he was excited to be playing the Brixton Academy. “I am fucking buzzing,” the young fellow said into his drum mic. This moment preceded Frank’s story of his formerly emotionally abusive father coming out as transgender, and the song Miranda shone as one of the highlights of the gig. Where other tracks sounded somewhat muddy, lyrics and melodies finally shone through here.
Plain Sailing Weather started out crisp, heavy and strong, but sadly retreated into a muddled mess of sound in the middle-eight, where drums dropped out and the melody was lost. The artist gave a warm and humorous introduction for his song, The Work, which started out as a gentle fingerpicked love song to his wife and ended up a punk track in the studio. (“What have you done to my beautiful song?” she had, allegedly, lamented.) If Ever I Stray provided a welcome change of pace, leaving some space between the instrumentals and allowing Green to groove over the folkier track. People at the back of the room resumed swaying, after the rather homogenous, upbeat punk tunes that dominated the first half of the set.
A passionate rendition of spoken-word indie track Farewell to My City off Turner’s latest release FTHC was a pleasure to behold, though the vocals could have done with more definition to make out the deep and relatable poetry within.
Frank Turner bounced through the entire gig – he would let not a moment go by without his trademark angry passion – but the sound did not do his music justice, and some structural issues further muddled the score. With music as dense as Turner’s, clarity is vital, and it was lacking on Sunday at the Brixton Academy.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Frank Turner’s website here.
Watch the video for the single The Gathering here: