LIVE IN NEWCASTLE
Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor
Proof that Something as Simple as Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Save Us All.
I’ve been a big fan of Frank for about 5 years. I love his story telling and love that his catalogue of songs is like a personal diary of him and his friends and the life he has led. On recent releases he has moved away from that somewhat, but is still a brilliant songwriter, and any new release is always something I look forward to.
This album was recorded at my local Newcastle City Hall in 2019; opening with a very different sounding THE BALLED OF ME AND MY FRIENDS with Frank speaking the opening verse before bringing the song to it’s more familiar sound. He then introduces his band, The Sleeping Souls during I KNEW PRUFROCK BEFORE HE GOT FAMOUS, and there is already a great vibe on this album with Frank’s voice sounding strong and him coming across very relaxed and happy to be where he is.
JOURNEY OF THE MAGI tells the story of Princes, Kings and Queens and travel, but is really just a metaphor for Frank’s life as a non stop touring act.
But in the end the journey’s brought joys that outweigh the pain”.
SUBSTITUTE is another one of those great songs that reminds us have how bad we have been in relationships over the years – and Frank certainly seems to have been an awful boyfriend in his younger years (he pretty much admits that while introducing the song).
“I’ve had many different girls inside my bed, only one or two inside my head” is a truly brilliant line.
Frank takes time to explain a little about the songs before the band kick in and start playing, and his explanation of ISABEL creates plenty of chuckles from the audience. I wonder if Isabel has ever forgiven him?
Another of Turner’s stories explains the idea behind REDEMPTION and why we really need to look at ourselves more than other people when something goes wrong.
REASONS NOT TO BE AN IDIOT is one of my favourites from Frank as I think I can relate to it in a big way. They play this completely differently to the album version with a three chord rock n roll intro, but the melody is instantly recognisable.
Next up is I AM DISAPPEARED. A subject matter that a lot of musicians seem to struggle with. The never ending need to be on the road and travelling and playing and the hurt of missing home and family and being desperate to get back.
TELL TALE SIGNS is a song I’ve loved since I first heard it. The way Frank sings “God damn it Amy” makes it such a powerful opening line and then the story of a broken heart and how you never forget certain people and they affect you for the rest of your life, but that’s ok. “You will always be a part of my patched-up patchwork taped-up tape-deck heart” is such a great lyric and it’s a gift poets and songwriters have to be able to come up with lines like that we mere mortals will never be able to experience.
ONE FOOT BEFORE THE OTHER, is up next and we get another story to explain his thoughts on death when he was an earnest and serious 19 year old. Very emo.
THE WAY I TEND TO BE, and THE OPENING ACT OF SPRING are joined with the tale of another failed relationship and how, as men, we tend to be a bit crap. It’s not an excuse, I know, but Frank knows he screwed up and he also realised what an amazing person he hurt and how he, and more importantly, his ex, can move on.
LOVE FORTY DOWN is not about tennis, as Frank explains (and we all knew really) but about hitting the big 4.0 and how it’s all ‘downhill’ from there. (Joke).
Romance is in the air, as a now married Frank sings about his wife and maybe just proves that hitting 40 isn’t actually all that bad; and that he/we can get relationships right.
Another fun story introduces THERE SHE IS.
DON’T WORRY and BALTHAZAR IMPRESARIO follow next before leading into PHOTOSYNTHESIS. Simply one of the greatest sing-a-long songs ever written. A subject we can all relate to make this an ‘everyman’ song.
Talk of faded dreams from your youth and mortgages, and working jobs you hate before the repeated refrain of
“And I won’t sit down,
And I won’t shut up,
And most of all yeah I won’t grow up”
make you think “f**k it, life is actually great!
RECOVERY is another song of redemption from drink and drugs and another uplifting chorus and the perfect ending “…one day this will all be over“
I STILL BELIEVE is the perfect song to explain the power of rock n roll. Music has saved so many of us over the years and is probably the main thing we all come back to in time of need. This is as punk as Frank Turner gets, but its pop and its joyful and it has some of the most uplifting lyrics that will always be among my favourite ever written.
“And I still believe (I still believe) in the need for guitars and drums and desperate poetry.~
And I still believe (I still believe) that everyone can find a song for everytime they’ve lost and every time they’ve won.
So just remember folks we’re not just saving lives, we’re saving souls and we’re having fun.And I still believe.
Now who’d have thought that after all, something as simple as rock ‘n’ roll would save us all”.
The album finishes on a more subdued note with BE MORE KIND. A song that we need right now with so much to deal with and it’s time we all just think about other people.
This is a great record of a great singer and songwriter and his band. Newcastle City Hall is a two thousand plus seater venue but this album sounds like it was recorded in a very intimate venue and that adds to its strength.
I love Frank Turner and if you give this a listen I think you will too.