Live Review | Frank Turner | The Old Fruitmarket

Back in 2007, very few people had heard of Frank Turner, and if they had heard of him they would know him as the frontman of the disbanded hardcore band Million Dead.

That is clearly not the case anymore as he returned to Glasgow for sell out a solo show at the Old Fruitmarket, with a capacity of roughly 2000. A clear example of how much can change in little over 10 years.

As part of the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, this show was also a chance for Frank Turner to celebrate all of his achievements thus far.

Before the main event, however, it was time to enjoy singer-songwriter Will Varley, who is riding a wave of success in his own right. Varley’s own unique style of performance was the perfect complement to the crowd expectations for Frank Turner’s set. He was at times funny, at times sombre, and at times political, but without being too heavy-handed. Will Varley has a very similar style to other singer-songwriters from the same scene, like Chris T-T or Ben Marwood, but is still rooted in a more classic style like Dylan (obviously) and Cat Stevens. Varley’s work is also successful in that is accessible by not being too heavy-handed and contained the right level of humour, which went down really well with the crowd. The fact that he overran his time slot by fifteen minutes and got cheers and applause for doing so, shows that whatever he is doing, it’s very clearly working.

With Frank Turner, however, the crowd knew exactly what they were expecting, and Frank himself played on that by providing a set list that was essentially a “Best Of” or “Greatest Hits” of his career so far.

Admittedly, he did start off his performance with a brand-new song (which he jokingly admitted was a bold move) and sprinkled a few new tracks throughout the performance, including ‘There She Is‘ from his recently released compilation album ‘Songbook’, and the newly released track ‘1933‘, but on the whole, it was a night for the fans to sing along to all their favourite songs from his extensive catalogue.

The highlight of the night, however, came from when Frank took a couple of requests and played some songs that you normally wouldn’t hear from his other shows when performing with the backing band, The Sleeping Souls.

Halfway through the set, fans were treated to the B-Side ‘Sailor’s Boots‘, and to a solo rendition of the Million Dead song ‘Smiling At Strangers on Trains’, and finally a performance of ‘Once We Were Anarchists’, a song that Turner admitted that he had to look up the lyrics on Google because I had been so long since he’s played it.

For the grand finale, Turner finished with what everyone in the crowd wanted; sing-a-longs. This started with a cover of the Queen classic ‘Somebody To Love’, his live staple ‘Photosynthesis’, and finally his love letter to rock ‘n’ roll, ‘I Still Believe’, which brought the evening to a very successful end and to (probably) very sore throats.

This performance showed the audience that Frank Turner has come a long way since his debut in 2007, but it also showed that he still has a lot more to give.

Post Author: Ian Clement

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