Tuesday 27 September 2022

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Rock City, Nottingham

Supported By Pet Needs + Truckstop Honeymoon

Unsurprisingly Frank Turner again delivers two strong support acts tonight in Truckstop Honeymoon and Pet Needs. First up are husband and wife team Mike and Katie West aka Truckstop Honeymoon. They have been together a long long time and have a well-honed act, part comedy banter part bluegrass country music right down to the banjo and the double bass. Anyone who has song titles such as ‘Louisiana Tug Boat Captain’ and ‘Your Mother Is a Sociopath’ are fine by me. They are immensely entertaining and a great way to kick off the evening.

There is then a complete change of gear when Colchester’s unashamedly punk Pet Needs take to the stage and they take to the stage serenaded by Art Brut’s ‘Formed A Band’. Has anyone anywhere ever come on to an Art Brut song before? Other than Art Brut themselves? Eddie Argos would be so proud.

They may now be from Colchester but singer Johnny Marriott grew up in Nottingham and tells us that he saw his first punk gig at Rock City when he saw Rancid. 13 years later he’s on the same stage. It’s also a great story that their first album got picked up during lockdown. They are clearly a band on the up and they’ve brought a huge crowd with them including Johnny’s Mum and Dad. Like Truckstop Honeymoon they don’t lack for confidence although we won’t mention Johnny’s dancing but you can’t knock his and the band’s enthusiasm which is truly infectious.

They’re playing at the Bodega in December but given tonight’s reception I’m not sure that’s going to be big enough for them.

It’s been a while in the making but Frank Turner is back at his spiritual home and what he calls the ‘best gig venue in the world’. I have almost forgiven him for the two cancellations in March 2020 and February 2022. That is cancelled rather than rescheduled meaning loss of booking fees and having to fight the pre-sales all over again as getting Frank Turner tickets is no picnic. Meanwhile he plays four acoustic shows locally that, of course, you couldn’t get tickets for… but anyway. Ancient history now.

The ‘never-ending tour of everywhere’ show 2689 is now here and surprisingly Frank opens with a track that usually comes at the end in ‘Four Simple Words’ before move into ‘The Gathering’ the first of many tonight from his new record ‘FTHC’.

A couple of these new songs tell the story of his relationship with his father. First up ‘Fatherless’ telling of their estrangement and then three songs later comes the second part of the story with ‘Miranda’. His father's called Miranda these days, a proud transgender woman and, he says, they’re ok.

It’s a night of emotional songs as he also pays tribute to his late friend Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit’s lead singer who sadly took his own life in 2018, with the excellent ‘A Wave Across A Bay’.

His now customary solo section is ‘There She is’, ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ and ‘Be More Kind’ but he is sort of heckled, as usual, for other tracks including most prominently 'Thatcher Fucked The Kids'.

Once the solo section is over the Sleeping Souls return for the finale including the monstrous newbie, that harks back to his hardcore roots, ‘Non Serviam’.

When he returns for the encore he whinges a bit about the earlier 'heckling' and then adds 'Thatcher Fucked The Kids' to the set, which I think is the first time he’s ever played it at Rock City before launching into the always excellent ‘Prufrock’. 


His shows are always good but some of the ones I’ve seen in the last few years have got a bit samey but tonight he seemed to go up another gear, perhaps the enforced pandemic break did him good, as this was the best I’ve seen Frank Turner in quite some time. Although... I still think he has way too many tracks on his ‘must play’ list but I best not ‘whinge’ too much about that. 

Frank Turner Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2022, The Neverending Tour of Everywhere

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