This was the first time I’d ever been to Nottingham at all, let alone the Capital FM arena, which by the way is massive, holding 10,000 people. The fact that Frank Turner is playing an arena this size is amazing in itself, let alone a whole nationwide tour of venues this large, seeing as just four years ago he was playing in clubs to 100 people or less. Quite a spectacular achievement in such a short space of time.
But before we can see Frank himself, he has two support acts with him. The first is Beans on Toast, a punk-poet similar in ways to Frank, and is as funny as he is talented. His lyrics are clever and hilarious, with themes of songs as diverse as chicken, America, the Olympics and *cough*, blowjobs, making for entertaining viewing. His between-song banter is a laugh as well, including a particularly funny quote when he said “please stop clapping along to my songs because my rhythm is terrible, and if you clap I’m fucked,”
The next support act on represent the other side of Frank Turner’s music. Enter Flogging Molly, a celtic punk band who if you haven’t heard of them, are a very established group in their own right. Entirely different to Beans on Toast, they dance around the stage with accordions, tin whistles and banjos flying everywhere. The music is fantastic, and the lyrics are really thought-wrenching, about long dead great grandfathers and not having enough to eat when you were growing up, and provoke thought, as well as moshing. Definitely a band to check out if you are not already familiar.
Then comes Frank Turner himself, and what a man he is. Never have I watched an arena show of someone so deserving of their position. His songs are fantastic sing-alongs, which the whole crowd know and love. Despite the fact that he’s had a few massive songs recently, every crowd member knows every word of every track he plays, regardless of which album it’s from or whether it was ever a single. This is a truly rare thing for an artist at this level of success and proves how passionate and die-hard his fans are. He is a real performer as well, having the crowd eating out the palm of his hand. Another charming thing is he doesn’t just play singles, or just play songs from the new album. Rather, it’s just like putting his entire back catalogue on shuffle, which wouldn’t work for most artists but for Frank, it’s brilliant. At one point he says that he is responding to a request he received via email, which is rare enough, and starts playing Journey of the Magi, which is a song almost never heard live. Ending on the sublime Four Simple Words, preceded by The Ballad of me and My Friends, this man is a hero for the modern age, the deserves as much success as he can get his hands on.