I am admittedly late to the Frank Turner party, as I found out when I posted about his new album in May and had a bunch of people tell me with great passion, “I loooooove Frank Turner!” He was a new discovery for me this year and so I was pretty psyched when I found out he was playing in Portland.
Serendipity + strong local music scene + geographically location close to Boston = Groups that I like play here!
Unbeknownst to me when I bought the tix, this was an acoustic show. Just Frank and his longtime collaborator and mandolin player Matt Nasir. As a naturally gifted storyteller and experienced performer, Frank created a great atmosphere and connection with the audience. I appreciated the intimacy of the duo’s dynamic and that, because Frank has historically written all of his songs first for solo guitar, we were hearing his music as he originally conceived it. Also, he played a number of old tunes and deep cuts, which drove the many Frank Turner-heads in the audience bonkers.
It was also the first show Frank played after an epic-sounding stint in Boston the week before. 7 shows in 8 nights! He admitted to being a bit “haggard.” Matt more accurately termed it “hungover,” before handing him a shot of tequila. Well played.
It was a good show. But, I gotta say for me as a newcomer to Frank Turner, I wanted — and, so, missed — the full band experience. Having listened to a lot of his back-catalogue, I realize how different Be More Kind is than his other records — musically, in the album’s production, and, as Frank shared onstage, how it was written and conceived (the first time he’s written songs for a full band and not just solo guitar). I like the difference and so I left the show wishing for even more of the new stuff.
But, hey, that’s me and I am in no way dismissing the energy, passion, and talent that Frank brought to the stage last night. I appreciate having had the chance to see him tear into his songs. And, he did played all of my favorite cuts from the new record, so what the fuck am I complaining about?!
I was especially glad he played Blackout — the third single from the album, a track with all the feels for me and that gives me goosebumps each listen, and my daughter’s favorite cut. Great tune to dance to and, in Frank Turner anthem-style, to belt out at the top of your lungs.