Review + Photography by Cain Suleyman

In a packed out Camden Roundhouse, just under 2,000 fans eagerly anticipated the grand entry of the greatest showman that is Frank Turner. And his entry is certainly epic as his band mate trips him over whilst running onto the stage, falling flat on his face. An extremely embarrassed Frank Turner curses and laughs at guitarist Ben Lloyd as he continues to start the show with the energetic and upbeat ‘1933’.

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Tonight’s support came in the form of an acoustic version of The Homeless Gospel Choir. Derek Zanetti, alone with his guitar, created an atmosphere that captured the room, with each song being introduced with the same motif “this is a protest song”. There was a great sense of power and passion behind every element of his music. It was incredibly refreshing to see a musician that writes songs with meaning and heart, the perfect way to stand out among the multitude of artists in todays modern pop culture that just sing meaningless songs. This is a subject that Zanetti covers in ‘Musical Preference’, a song that seemed to resonate well with tonight’s audience. He describes aspects of todays music as a rubbish “Starbucks pick of the week”, as well as songs being “top 40 songs that were made to be forgotten”.

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The Homeless Gospel Choir is a band that you don’t want to miss. Whether it’s the whole band, or Derek Zanetti alone, the feeling of each song is raw and truly something that is a necessity to experience.

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On the outside, Frank Turner seems like one of the nicest guys in the current music scene. If anyone needed any excuse to prove this, Frank did exactly that by listing the charities and organisations that are currently on tour with him. Safe Gigs for Women and Stay Up Late volunteers were in the building to represent their respective causes. An emotional Turner explains the importance of the charities being present at live music events as he dedicates ‘Be More Kind’ to, arguably, the most important people in the room.

Tonight was my first experience seeing Frank with his band and there was a completely different atmosphere compared to his acoustic gigs. Mosh pits and a more energetic audience were among the many differences to bring a new dynamic to a live experience with the main man on stage. But perhaps the biggest difference was the mood when the Roundhouse transformed into a church for the song that will resonate with Atheists, no matter what your music taste is. ‘Glory Hallelujah’ is the perfect contradiction of a song as the lyrics, ‘there is no god’, repeat themselves throughout the whole chorus. This song is about there being no god, yet the music felt like it belonged in a christian ceremony. Hands raised to the heavens as the crowd chants “glory hallelujah won’t you wash my sins away” immediately before the familiar chant of “there is no god”. Throughout the night Frank presents fine examples of his musical talents. This one being one of the best.

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With this being the first night of the extremely successful Lost Evenings Festival, in its second year, a wide mix of repertoire is played as the audience are treated to old, new and new new songs across the nine albums Turner has released across an impressive 12 year career. Songs such as ‘The Real Damage’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ are well placed next to newer songs like ‘Little Changes’ and ‘21st Century Survival Blues’. And there is a perfect commentary to give a detailed explanation of the meaning behind some of the songs. This was evident before the acoustic ‘Get It Right’, where Frank shares the fact of his tendencies to argue with people on social media. He explains that he wants more people to use two phrases that everyone seems to be scared of using in Facebook and Twitter debates. “I don’t know” and “I changed my mind” were repeatedly sung in each chorus as a reminder that it’s alright not to know things and learn something from someone that knows more about a certain subject.

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As the night comes to a close, an extremely out of breath Frank Turner gives everything he’s got as he crowd surfs in ‘Four Simple Words’. “I want to dance” he exclaims as he politely asks the audience to open up to make room for him to pick a random member of the audience to dance with before everyone descends into chaos for one final mosh pit.

The evening comes to a close with a lo-key rendition of ‘Polaroid Picture’, a song that perfectly sees off the night with everyone feeling a great sense of fulfilment, having seen the mighty Turner, a musician who never fails give his best at each show.

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Setlists:

The Homeless Gospel Choir:
With God On Our Side
Why Must I Feel This Way?
Musical Preference
Alright
Crazy
The Best Things In Life
Normal

Frank Turner:
1933
Get Better
The Next Storm
Recovery
Make America Great Again
The Way I Tend To Be
Be More Kind
I Am Disappeared
The Road
Little Changed
21st Century Survival Blues
Glory Hallelujah
The Opening Act Of Spring
There She Is
The Real Damage
Get It Right
The Modern Leper (Frightened Rabbit cover)
Blackout
Out Of Breath
Photosynthesis
Don’t Worry
I Still Believe
Four Simple Words
Polaroid Picture

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