Tag Archives: Recovery

Frank Turner Rocks Orlando

Frank Turner Orlando Concert Review

Frank Turner live in concert at The Beacham Orlando
Frank Turner live in concert at The Beacham Orlando


Among American rock fans, he’s probably the most under-appreciated musician on the planet, but this talented artist is gaining passionate new fans at a tremendous pace. He’s part folk rock troubadour and part classic rocker. Mix in a healthy dose of punk, and you get a unique mix of music and one hell of an entertainer.

Frank Turner cut his teeth as the hardcore punk vocalist in the band Million Dead; abruptly evolved into a folk singer, before ultimately settling into his niche as a versatile rock front man. On Saturday night, he returned to Orlando to a packed house at The Beacham. It didn’t take long to get the crowd roiling as he kicked into “Photosynthesis,” with a clear synopsis of what we were all in for: “Now I’ll play and you sing, the perfect way for an evening to begin… I won’t sit down, I won’t shut up, but most of all I won’t grow up.” The party was on.

Uncharacteristically, Turner took the stage without his omnipresent acoustic guitar. He shared that after recently badly hurting his back, he was directed to cancel his tour, but chose instead to bring a new guitarist on tour and eschew the guitar. He introduced his ‘replacement’ an Irish bloke (whose name I missed) who learned the songs five minutes before they went on tour; and then showed his “Rocky Horror-esque” back brace and shared “We’re still going to have a rocking show,” before kicking into “Losing Days.”

Turner invited the crowd to get involved and open their mouths early in the show and they willingly complied, offering rousing accompaniment on “Reasons Not To Be an Idiot” and “Wessex Boy” as well as two tracks from his fantastic 2013 album Tape Deck Heart: “Plain Sailing Weather” and “Losing Days.” (See our album review here)

His band, The Sleeping Souls is the total opposite. They flew around the stage sounding perfect throughout, and appeared to be having a blast the entire time. During the hour and forty minute set, Frank and his band mates interacted with the crowd constantly, with the front man exuding his abundant charisma and charm throughout.

During a humorous interlude, Turner shared interesting facts about Orlando, as prepared by his tour manager – fun stuff. He referenced prior trips to the city throughout the night including his last visit which brought him next door to The Social. He also threw in some nice references to the Central Florida area; referencing “the best record store on the planet, Park Avenue Records,” the whiskey bar across the street (Elixir?), and worked The Social into the “I Am Disappeared” lyrics; all nice touches.

As an interesting anecdote, Turner pointed out a nice homemade Tape Deck Heart flag flowing form the rafters, noting that fans have arranged for it to be displayed in every venue since their stop in Cleveland over a month ago.

Frank Turner live in concert at The Beacham Orlando
Frank Turner live in concert at The Beacham Orlando

Turner had the crowd in the palm of his hand all night, the majority of whom had never seen him before, but reacted to his every command and movement. As the night drew to a close, the pace was ratcheted up to a fever pitch for a killer version of “Recovery.” He then masterfully slowed things down for the unaccompanied, tender “Broken Piano,” which ended the main set.

He returned to the stage solo and for the first time in the evening, slung the acoustic guitar over his shoulder. He shared with the crowd his preference to play a different song in tribute to his locale that evening. Thankfully, he skipped the Orlando bands, instead heading 100 miles to the North to honor The Allman Brothers with a slick rendition of “Rambling Man.”

Turner thanked the crowd and offered one more song, before kicking into the near perfect closer, “I Still Believe,” with The Sleeping Souls at his side “Now who’d have thought that after all, Something as simple as rock ‘n’ roll would save us all. And who’d have thought that after all, it was rock ‘n’ roll.” It seemed the perfect ending to what is likely the show of the year, until…

…he grabbed the mic and began the rollicking roller-coaster ride that is “Four Simple Words.” The song starts with a stark vocal and evolves into a Sleeping Souls punk rock party. “I want to dance, I want to dance.  I want lust and love and a smattering of romance. But I’m no good at dancing, yet I have to do something. Tonight I’m going to play it straight, I’m going to take my chance, I want to dance.” And we did, deep into the cool Orlando evening.

Rock On!

OK, America – It’s Time to get on Frank Turner’s Bandwagon

Frank Turner, Tape Deck Heart Album Review

Frank Turner has quietly became a huge star in his native England, while illogically wallowing in relative mainstream obscurity in the States. He’s a relentless road warrior famous for delivering fantastic live shows, and is a prolific song-writer with an excellent catalog of songs. I suspect he’s quite happy with his cult following in the States, where he’s never really had a commercial breakthrough, but that is about to change.

Tape Deck Heart, Turner’s Fifth solo album is a rare marriage of stirring song-writing and creative passionate music. Turner is a talented poet, sincere story-teller and tremendous musician, and he’s created a fantastic album, destined to be prominently included in 2013’s year-end Best Albums lists.

The 31 year-old Turner is the former front-man for hardcore punk rockers Million Dead. Since going off on his own, he has shifted to more of an acoustic driven sound as a solo artist. On Tape Deck Heart, we see a perfect melding of the strumming folk troubadour and the fervid punk rocker.  The sound is unique and Turner pulls it off perfectly. We hear a roller-coaster of lyrics that effortlessly transforms from hopefulness to resignation to bitterness and despair before sneaking back to optimism: just magnificent.

If you’re not familiar with Frank Turner, and are looking for a comparison, there’s not truly an easy match.  At times I thought of the best traits of artists such as The Lemonheads (before Evan Dando imploded), The Replacements, Chuck Ragan and Flogging Molly.  An eclectic mix, but damn good company.

Recovery” is the first single off of the album and already one of the year’s top songs. It’s a catchy, bouncy tune that is pure addiction. The lyrics belie the poppy sound, as they reflect a desperate, if not unrealistic attempt to recover from a failed relationship. Turner’s vocals are wide-ranging and captivating; nicely accompanied by a rollicking piano and guitar driven backdrop.  “Losing Days” is another song cut from the same cloth, and an excellent track on it’s own.

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On the opposite side of the spectrum is the tender “Tell Tale Signs,” The stark song kicks off with a cold “Goddammit Amy,” and then shares a sad tale of love lost. “Like nothing really matters, Like pain doesn’t hurt, You should mean more to me by now, Than just a heartbreak in a short skirt.” The entire song is a lyrical gem and great story; one of many samples of Turner’s story-telling magic.

The best song is the fantastic “Four Simple Words.” It’s a 5 minute roller coaster ride that just oozes creative genius. The song starts as a slow meandering tome accompanied by minimalist piano, then a bit of a hopeful plea (those four words) “I want to dance,” before exploding into a raucous punk rock anthem.  The vocals are diverse and captivating, and the lyrics again superb. It’s a brilliant song, and sadly one that will never get a sniff of airplay on our stale American radio outlets, but stand assured, this will quickly become a highlighted staple in his live shows.

“The way I Tend To Be” and “Polaroid” are two more tracks with the potential to be hits that you’ll find bouncing around in your head.  At the other end of the scale is the slow, heart-wrenching “Broken Piano,” and the farewell ballad “Anymore.”  The album is masterfully produced by Rich Costey (Muse, NIN) who does a nice job highlighting Turner’s distinctive voice and giving the album a great feel and flow.

We hear the refrain too often that rock music is dead. It’s not, there’s still some fantastic stuff from the likes of The Black Keys, The Drowning Men and Foo Fighters; now, it’s safe to add Frank Turner to that list. Go out, buy the album below and help save rock ‘n roll.

I’ll leave you with this quote from “Four Simple Words:” “Somebody told me that music with guitars was going out of fashion and I had to laugh. This shit wasn’t fashionable when I fell in love. If the hipsters move on, why should I give a fuck?”

Rock On!

RARA's Choice Plus (9/10)
RARA’s Choice Plus (9/10)

(see RARA’s rating system)

P.S. Follow Frank on Twitter – he’s a caustic intelligent guy and always entertaining. @frankturner