Photos by Randall Vasquez
The previous time I saw Frank Turner was at Riotfest, but only a snippet. Unfortunately, I was too busy wasting my time watching Tyler The Creators shitty set, so by the time I left and made it to that stage there wasn’t much left. Although I didn’t get to see much of it, just from what I saw I knew that there was something different about Turner. He had a different kind of energy, a different kind of excitement, and a hell of a different kind of voice. From this, I knew I had to see him again at some point. When I found out he was coming back to Toronto, of course I was going to be there.
Openers were Mo Kenney and Northcote. I enjoyed Mo Kenney more so than Northcote, but overall it was a mediocre opening. I was really not enjoying Northcotes set, I was pretty much just waiting for it to be over however I do give them credit to the fact that it did pick up about halfway through. The crowd seemed to be somewhat enjoying it, but a lot of people were mainly just chatting. I started enjoying the set when Mo Kenney joined singer Matthew Daniel for a duet, which was beautifully done. They had perfect harmonizing and I enjoyed the incorporation of the harmonica. There was a nice connection between the two and emotionally, they were both into it. Chris from The Flatliners also made a short appearance, which was pretty neat.
“Toronto, how the fuck you doing!?” Frank said after his strong opening of “Next Storm”. Just from that line, I knew it was going to be a good show – and I was right. Turner and the band were so thrilled to be there, and it made for such an entertaining and fun show. “Eulogy” was a really great performance, it was fun for the crowd as basically everyone was singing – Turner made sure of this. Throughout the entire show he would continuously make sure that everyone would be singing and having a good time. He consistently did this, and I think it says a lot about his character. He is someone who genuinely cares about his fans and the people in the audience. He wants to ensure that everyone is truly enjoying the music and enjoying themselves – he isn’t just there for a paycheque. It is easy to tell which artists are there to just play and get it done with, and which ones are there to perform and put on a well done show for the crowd. This is what makes Turner different. Yes there are many artists who do care about their fans enjoying themselves however; Frank is one of the few who it is extremely obvious in.
I have such an appreciation for his folk style rock, and the way he plays guitar. Between this, his strong vocals, and strong lyricism, it all goes together so well. Additionally, he sounds identical to his recordings – if not better. My only criticism would be that the keys were a little quiet at times, and I really enjoy the use of piano within his songs so it would have been nice to hear those slightly more distinct. I’m not sure if this is the fault of the venue, setup crew, but it happens.
He did a small tribute to Lemy and David Bowie, which was nice and got the crowd going. I liked this, because its shows his appreciation for music.
Another aspect of the show I really liked was the “Tour Flag”, which I never knew about until the show. It’s basically this flag that showed up at a Pittsburgh show about a year ago and everyone passes it around, and I think that’s such a cool concept. It’s definitely unifying, and adds another aspect to the show.
My two favourite performances were “Recovery” and “Mittens”. Yes Recovery is probably his most mainstream song however, it never really gets old to me and to hear it live again was amazing – the crowd went pretty crazy for it. Mittens was my other favourite because he had such strong emotion and passion while performing it (he did for all of his songs, but I felt it even more-so during this performance).
Overall I had an awesome time and it was probably one of the better shows I have been to in the past six months – I highly recommend this show to anyone who has the opportunity to see him. For those who will see him in the future, just know this: “Theres only two rules at my shows. Don’t be a dickhead, and if you know the words to a song that we play then fucking sing along!”