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Concert Review: Frank Turner at The Hippodrome, Kingston

Archive, Editors Choice, Events, Folk, Rock

August 18, 2015

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or yet to experience him, you may well have heard of Frank Turner’s incredible prowess as a live performer. It’s not rare to hear musicians described by their fans as “even better live”, but in Frank’s case it really is true. His recorded tracks are already excellent, but they’re brought to a new, explosive life when Frank, often backed by his band The Sleeping Souls, as he was at The Hippodrome, break out their matching white shirts and black jeans and hit the stage.

This performance was a particularly special one for Frank and co., as they played past midnight into 7th August to ring in the release of their latest album, Positive Songs For Negative People, in perfect style. After some excellent support from “lyrical genius” Chas Palmer-Williams and Americana/folk-punk acoustic singer songwriter PJ Bond, Frank and the band burst onto the stage of the intimate venue with “Get Better”, the meteoric first track released from the new album, which got the highly-anticipating crowd fully pumped from the first chords.

The gig was, of course, a celebration of the new album release, and so the set list was full to the brim with almost every track from the new release. However it wouldn’t be a Frank Turner gig without a few classic favourites, and that’s exactly what came next in the form of the hopeful, patriotic “If I Ever Stray” and “Long Live The Queen”, a grief-ridden but beautifully spirited lament to a deceased friend. Beloved classics – all of which were from Frank’s collection upbeat, anthemic offerings, in keeping with the celebratory tone of the evening – often came sandwiched between new tracks (each and every one of which was as brilliantly written, gloriously performed and gratefully received as the next); after newbies “Demons” and “Josephine” came “Peggy Sang The Blues”, followed by fast-favourite “Glorious You” and top-tappingly rosy “Love Forty Down”.

Perhaps one of the best-received highlights of the night was “The Ballad of Me and My Friends”, a constantly firm fan favourite from Frank’s first album, Sleep Is for the Week, that he’s only recently started to perform again – to everyone’s joy – after several years of leaving it out of his set lists. And, of course, a night in a Frank Turner audience would never have been complete without “Glory Hallelujah”, the perfect singalong track “The Road” and the illustriously raucous anthem “I Still Believe”, of course featuring the tradition of the crowd sitting on the ground a leaping up into a dancing frenzy on drummer Nigel‘s cue. Accompanying these to close the show were “Mittens”, the latest, already hugely popular track to be released from the new album, and “The Next Storm”, a powerful song of hope and anticipation.

An encore quickly came, of course, opened with new track “The Angel Islington” and followed by three hugely popular older numbers; the slightly calmer “The Way I Tend To Be”, the fail-safe dance-inducing “Try This At Home” and the stridently vitriolic and effortlessly fun “Four Simple Words” to close the show on the ultimate high note.

This being the fourth of five Frank gigs I’ve attended, this show had an atmosphere like no other; Frank ran on pure happiness, joyful anticipation and adrenaline as the new album he was clearly (and deservedly) so proud of was released to the world, and the crowd were raised to ceiling vicariously through his elation. Every live performance by Frank is pure glory, but there was something so wondrously unique about this night in Kingston that made it one of the best gigs we, as Frank Turner fans, have ever witnessed.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Opinion: Gig etiquette? WTF?

Archive, Events, News

August 11, 2015

A sweaty, crammed, beer-stained punk show where the average age is twenty-one is the last place that any of the sweaty, crammed, beer-stained twenty-one year olds want there to be a set of rules, so why must we impose list after list of so called “gig etiquette” on these poor souls whose main aim is making sure they don’t puke on the person standing in front of them? If a rock gig is a place for rebellion, why is there even an “etiquette”at all?

If you type anything along the lines of “gig etiquette” into Google, you’ll get the same thing. Don’t constantly take pictures, don’t take pictures at all if you’re at the front, don’t make out with someone in the middle of a pit, don’t get so drunk you wet yourself on someone’s shoulders (I’ve seen this happen). Basically the same thing that would come up if you typed in “how to not be an asshole at a gig”, or, why not just, “how not to be an asshole.”

If you’re going to a gig and you need someone to tell you not to take a camera the size of a semi-detached house and stick it above everyone’s heads when you’re not even a professional photographer – you don’t need to learn about gig etiquette. Get off the website you’re on. Close the internet. Shut down your laptop. Take a step back and realise that no “10 things you shouldn’t do at a concert” list is going to help you. You are just an asshole.

This is why these lists are so ridiculous – the people who make out with their significant other for fifty minutes and then take two million selfies are the same people who cut in line at the supermarket or drive through red lights. They’re just assholes. Or, more realistically, they just don’t care about the people around them. And why should they? Perhaps if you’re at a small acoustic gig in the middle of the day then screaming out lyrics so loud you can’t hear the singer probably isn’t the best idea. But if you’re at a rock concert, why the hell would anyone expect your main concern to be for someone else? Yes, these people can be annoying, but if you start seriously imposing all these rules on them, you diverge so far from the original concept of a rock or punk show that the very point of one becomes obsolete. Just let people do what they want and shut up about it.

Do not fear, conservative gig goers, as this not-caring attitude (or should I say etiquette?) works both ways. Recently I was at a FIDLAR gig where people jumped on stage and tried to take selfies with the singer, who proceeded to bat the phones out of their hands. The band later tweeted “i have no problem breaking your iPhone 6 if you jump on stage and take a selfie while we are playing. please, give me something to break.” Obviously, their opinion is that it is bad gig etiquette to take selfies on stage, while the selfie takers were probably just a bit drunk and trying to have fun. Both had a right to do what they did – the selfie takers wanted to take selfies even though it would obviously annoy the band and it is obviously an assholic thing to do, so they did. The band didn’t like them doing it, so they swatted their phones away. No gig etiquette guide would have stopped the selfie takers from doing what they wanted to do – it’s an asshole thing to do, but they did it away, because they’re assholes. No guide on how to be nice to your fans’ possessions would have stopped FIDLAR from breaking the selfie takers’ phones.

Please, disagree with me. That’s the point. Do what you want to do at a gig, but accept that no list is going to help anyone whose first and foremost priority is having a good time, and the notion of imposing rules on a situation that was made to not have any is absurd. One thing I think we can all agree on is the etiquette of not groping girls (or guys) who crowdsurf. But then again, if you seriously need me to tell you that, you’re just an asshole.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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Nick Mulvey // Summer Series Gigs

Archive, News, Singer/Songwriter

July 22, 2015

Throughout this (not so summery) British summertime, Somerset House are providing us with beautiful music as part of their Summer Series Gigs. Singer/songwriter artists from James Bay to George Ezra are performing at this prestigious London venue, lulling audiences into a care-free state of bliss.

Tuesday 14th July came around incredibly quickly as I woke up to my Nick Mulvey ticket sat gleaming on my desk. As I tried out what seamed to be every item of clothing in my wardrobe and ate all easily accessible food that stood to attention in the cupboards my excitement grew.

We ungracefully hurried to the front of the courtyard when 19:30 hit and managed to secure a place at be barrier, ready to be wowed. After a captivating performance from Aurora, Nick graced us with his incredible talent. Starting and finishing with his most popular hits, Nick also included some more personal performances. He faultlessly covered Björk’s ‘Bachelorette’ which sent to the audience into a dream of silence and swaying. Opening lyrics ‘I’m a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl’ are so powerful that he repeated them, our hearts throbbing as he did.

The Cambridge singer/songwriter formed a particular bond with the dedicated-despite-downpour audience by telling us the story of hit ‘Cucucuru’ which was written from a poem he was once given on the back of an envelope. This set the scene for what was my favourite performance that I have witnessed in the flesh.

Mulvey’s rare, exquisite talent mesmerised the filled venue seconds from Waterloo Bridge and left us feeling at peace as we waltzed to the station pasts London’s lights, awaiting the comfort of our beds.

Article By Sophie Hope

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