“Welcome to show number 1789” Frank Turner shouts to the sold out Sheffield Academy before kicking off with a hectic version of ‘Eulogy’. Radiating energy throughout his performance, the explosive frontman at times shocked with his ability to captivate an audience solely with his acoustic guitar and tarnished vocals. There’s no doubt that The Sleeping Souls bring some added zest to his performances but even a lone and slow ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ ignites a full sing along, shattering any moments of silence.
From the offset the night was tipped to be an exciting affair. Opening act Will Varley almost had the crowd in tears, ranting and singing his satirical views on the country and politics. As for Skinny Lister, their wild stage presence demanded attention. As they encouraged chaos and crowd surfed their way around over the audience clutching to a double bass, they without doubt left a lasting impression.
Stepping off stage to meet the crowd, Frank Turner often found finding himself chatting to the audience as though they were a group of his mates down the local pub. The Hampshire songwriter seemed equally at home up here in the north, fishing for reactions at every opportunity. Humouring his audience throughout the night and also bringing the room to a standstill whilst addressing the events in Paris earlier this month, at all times everyone stood together.
Upbeat and infectious strums of ‘Photosynthesis’ lifted the atmosphere once more as “I won’t sit down, and I won’t shut up, but most of all I will not grow up” was shouted back towards stage with an equal ferocity. With such a vast catalogue of material at the ready spanning numerous albums in moments you almost forgot the tour itself comes after the release of Positive Songs For Negative People. With a distinctly heavier tone, ‘Get Better’ screamed and clattered its way to the forefront, brandishing the more chaotic side to Turners’ punk-folk rock. However not even new material could replicate the buzz as opening chords to ‘Recovery’ were struck over the room.
Positive Sings For Negative People may not gather the reactions of earlier hits just yet, but nonetheless the ballad style choruses and poetic lyrics ensure the album will clamber its way into fans hearts. If there’s one thing you can rely on Frank Turner to do, it’s to showcase his material to a live audience with as much passion and fierceness as humanly possible.
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Review by Jacob Flannery | @jacob_flannery