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Frank Turner - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 26/1/2019

  by Shirley Procter

published: 11 / 3 / 2019

Frank Turner - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 26/1/2019


Writer Shirley Procter and photographer Amanda J Window watch and photograph Frank Turner playing an energetic and crowd-pleasing show at new Manchester venue the Victoria Warehouse.

Well, that is a surprise! We arrive at the gig, and I hear music I recognise, and Jimmy Eat World is the supporting act! I really like them, and hadn't realised they were playing tonight, so that is a real bonus. The Victoria Warehouse is as an interesting venue as its name suggests. It's an old industrial building on the edge of Trafford Park in Manchester. The part of the warehouse we're in is very crowded, and has a crammed balcony as well. It's standing only, with a small accessible platform to the stage right. I've abandoned our photographer Amanda in the ‘tog’s pit’ at the front of the stage, and am sitting on the platform, with a good view of the stage, waiting for Frank Turner to start. I catch Jimmy Eat World’s encore, which is ‘A Praise Chorus’, ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’. They're a great band, and this is the first time I have caught them live. After a short break, there is a strange intro, with a voiceover telling us to “loosen your seat belts. Let's get ready to rock and roll!” Then Frank Turner arrives on stage, and opens with ‘Out of Breath’, a very fast-paced song. The stage lights flash white on and off rapidly. There's a terrific drum beat to this one! “Good evening, Manchester!” says Frank. The audience are singing along to the song, loving it. It's a really high energy performance! Next up is ‘Photosynthesis’ which again has very strong drum beats and is a fast-paced number. Frank then talks to the crowd: “Is everyone having a good time? This is a punk rock show, and there are just two rules, 1. Don't be an arsehole - respect the people around you. 2. If you know the words to a song, you have to sing along.” He launches into ‘1933’, with everyone singing along. Next up is ‘Recovery’. It's slightly less frenetic than the other tunes so far, but couldn't be described as slow! Everyone is singing along to this one too. The lighting has changed to a softer yellow, and isn't flashing as fast, and the stage background has changed to a red rose. Ooh! Another lighting change. This time it's purple-pink as ‘If I Ever Stray’ starts. Frank moves all over the stage, telling the crowd to clap. There's a single strobe light following him around the stage, and the backdrop is switching between white and fuscia. It sounds like he's singing. “Are you afraid of the TARDIS”, but it's ‘Blackout’! He chats to the crowd again, and asks what we thought of the support acts - Grace Petrie and then “a thrusting young band from Arizona”, Jimmy Eat World (being sarcastic). He announces he's engaged to be married, and dedicates the next song to his fiancée. This is a slower, more romantic song, ‘There She Is’. What a beautiful song! ‘Plain Sailing Weather’ comes next, which is another faster-paced song, with a strong drum beat. This time the stage is lit with lots of roving spotlights, in white, blue and red. The backdrop is blue, then white, then red, matching the spotlights. It now has the circular logo Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls Always on Tour getting bigger and smaller in white on a red background. I can hear a harmonica playing over the drums and guitars now, as they play ‘Once We Were Anarchists’. As the song finishes, Frank says, “Thank you very much. We haven’t played that song for a long time. You guys are being a pretty good audience, I think I prefer them to last night’s (to the band). This is the third show – the first night in Birmingham (to boos!), last night and tonight here in Manchester. You may have realised I’m no good at dancing. I’ve always been a fan of dancing that requires no coordination. Let’s see some dancing, some hand jiving if you can’t dance, a conga over here, please! This song is called ‘Little Changes.’" The backdrop is showing the video that goes with the song. ‘The Road’ follows and has a driving video playing on the stage backdrop. Everyone is singing along and dancing. It's another tune with a strong, driving beat. “I want to see you singing along to the chorus to this one!” says Frank, and he starts playing ‘I am Disappeared’. The lighting is alternating between red and white, with a video of the band playing the song showing on the backdrop. This is another fast tune, with the drums beating out frenetically, the guitars keeping pace. “Thank you! How are we doing , friends?" Frank asks. "There's an awful lot of people working very hard to make this show work. They started at 7:00 a.m., and won't finish until 2:00 a.m. tomorrow. Let’s hear it for the crew!” He then tells us: “I'm enjoying myself so much, I'm going to make another rule. Rule 3, when Terrence claps, everyone has to clap with him. We have a new EP out this week. This song is from it. It's 'Don't Worry.'" This is slower, still with powerful drumbeats, but with acoustic guitar playing clearly over the drums and the bass guitar. The crowd are following rule 3 and are clapping along slowly. It's a melodic tune, a good change of pace. The backdrop shows the crowd clapping along. What a pretty song! He then tells us, “This next song is eleven years old, ‘Substitute’ and is an anti-love song. When I released it, I had a lot of angry phone calls asking if it were about them, and one asking why they weren't in the song. Just shows I can't win!” Oh, this is beautiful! It's slowe, again, and there's just Frank on stage singing and playing acoustic guitar. The rest of the band is having a break! Frank tells us how much he appreciates us being here, and is excited that he's sold out both nights! He says he has a friend in the crowd, Jamie, who he misses a lot. He dedicates the next song to him, which is ‘To Absent Friends’. It's another gentler song, but is quite sad. There's just Frank and his guitar, under two spotlights. He finishes by saying, “I'll see you after the show, Jamie.” Frank tells us that Jamie has stopped drinking tequila, so the first part of the song doesn't make sense! He'll be doing a DJ set after the gig, playing Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits Volume 1’, having a break and then playing ‘Volume 2’. We're all welcome! Next up is 'Glorious You'. His music sounds so different acoustically. It's more mournful, full of emotion. I love this song! The band comes back on stage, and the pace picks up again. The stage is flooded with red light. Whoa! Bright white lights shine into the crowd. I'm now seeing dots everywhere! The pace picks up again, the lighting changes to blue, and the backdrop shows the band playing. Looking round the floor, all I can see are heads bobbing up and down as people are dancing on the spot. The whole crowd is having a great evening! The pace picks up even more as the drums beat faster and faster, and there are shooting flames on stage! They’re firing in time with the music – it's 'Try This At Home'! I'm fairly close to the front, and can feel the heat from where I'm sitting! Frank’s punk roots are clearly evident in their song! The next song is 'I still Believe', which has the chorus flashing on the backdrop! “Hear ye! Hear ye! Right here, right now!” is flashing on the backdrop, with the crowd singing it back to Frank. The harmonica starts again in the middle of this song. I have no idea how we can hear it over the drums and guitars! There are more flames! Now Frank is conducting the crowd to sing the ending of the song! “Thank you very much. You've been wonderful. Thank you Manchester!” The band leaves the stage. Frank comes back on stage telling us “in a surprise, shocking twist, we have a few more songs for you. The new album is called 'Be More Kind'. This album and this song is about how we all get things wrong. We all make mistakes, so let's not get angry. Let's remember that everyone else is still a human being, and 'Be More Kind.'" The song starts. It's beautiful; opens with vocals and guitar, with Frank in a double spotlight. The words are wonderful. It's a slightly slower, but very passionate song. The other instruments slowly join in. The bass plays a strong beat; the drums kick in, following the bass and keyboard. Next up is 'Get Better' Ooh! There are Roman candles on stage at the end of the song! The last song is 'Four Simple Words'. Just before it ends, Frank pauses and thanks everyone involved in the gig, then finishes the song. It starts very slowly, then instantly becomes a high energy punk song with more pyrotechnics on stage! And Frank crowd surfs! The fireworks and flames light up the stage again. Frank introduces the band. The crowd roars its appreciation. Frank says he's found the best dancer in Manchester and wants to dance with them! Finally, the confetti strips explode over the crowd - there had been bits floating down from last night occasionally. Now they've exploded over the crowd, and in the excitement the band have left the stage, with the 'Red Dwarf' theme tune playing in the background. This was a great gig! A high energy show, it had some amazing songs with moving lyrics, while others were fast-paced, with stonking beats and driving guitar riffs. The whole crowd had a brilliant time, singing along to everything, dancing, clapping and waving along to the music. It was such a happy, positive environment, full of people having a good time, both crowd and band! Photos by Amanda J Window www.amandajwindow.com

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Frank Turner - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 26/1/2019

Frank Turner - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 26/1/2019

Frank Turner - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 26/1/2019

Frank Turner - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 26/1/2019

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