Saturday 25 February 2023

Frank Turner, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Supported By Hannah Rose Platt, Tom Jenkins & Jess Guise - Rescue Rooms 20th Anniversary

Somehow I rather fortunately got a ticket to this solo acoustic show from Frank Turner at the Rescue Rooms which is the climax of a week of celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Rescue Rooms venue. They even have celebratory plastic beer glasses. 

His record label Xtra Mile Recordings also supply the other four acts on the bill - Hannah Rose Platt, Welsh sheep-shearer Tom Jenkins and Turner’s other half Jess Guise.Singer songwriters and storytellers all of them.

The beautiful folksy voice of Hannah Rose Platt gives way to Tom Jenkins who is a particularly interesting character, and yes, he really is a sheep-shearer. He regales us with songs about his father, about Wales and how he could have been the next Tom Jones.

 Then we got an endearing half hour set from Jess Guise’s before she hands over to her husband. I did wonder if we might get a brief Guise and Turner double act but it wasn’t to be. I don’t think she wanted to be associated with the chaos that accompanies him.

Turner walks on stage alone tonight stripped bare without the Sleeping Souls who appear to have been busy elsewhere when Frank got the call from the Rescue Rooms.

Clearly it was an invite he felt he couldn’t refuse. His association with Nottingham is huge. From intimate shows at the defunct Junktion 7 and at the Bodega through to his many many gigs at Rock City, which he calls his favourite music venue and it was the site of his 2000th show.

He’s been at the Rescue Rooms before of course and he tells us of the night in 2008 when he got struck down with food poisoning mid set and had to rush off to empty his stomach. I’m sort of glad I missed that one.

The set he plays tonight is largely familiar and he opens with the always wonderful ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’. I thought perhaps they’d be more slower songs but there isn’t really as he rattles through ‘If Ever I Stray’, ‘Recovery’, ‘The Road’ and ‘The Next Storm’. 

The highlights of a Frank Turner show are often the ones you haven’t heard for an age like tonight when he slots in the much missed ‘The Real Damage’ from 2007 or ‘Smiling at Strangers on Trains’, a song from his former band Million Dead which he likes to drop in occasionally and tonight was requested by his wife.

Then there’s the one’s you’ve either missed completely or forgotten about like ‘Rescue Annie’ from 2019’s ‘No Man’s Land’. A song he says tonight was requested by a fan who works for the NHS.

The encore is more or less rolled into the set as he rattles though ‘Four Simple Words’, ‘Get Better’ and ‘I Still Believe’ which sound just as good solo as they do with his band. The Sleeping Souls might be out of a job.

He leaves the stage promising to be back here for the 40th anniversary in 20 years’ time and no one really doubts that he will be and hopefully we’ll all be there too.

Frank Turner Setlist Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, England 2023

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