Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Sun 9 Dec.
“This is a punk rock show tonight, ladies and gentlemen” – Frank Turner announces his arrival on The Gov’s well-trodden stage, leaving no doubt that his unwavering, frantic brand of folk-punk will be at the fore of tonight’s show.
By the time the irresistible Photosynthesis draws to a close, Turner has invited (ordered) the crowd to dance, encouraged the already-happening singing along, welcomed everyone to the show, and introduced himself and the band. All this after just two songs. This is stagecraft; unsurprising after years of constant touring. On and off stage, folks are already sweaty and out of breath.
Turner also explains that there are two rules for tonight’s show: “Don’t be an arsehole,” which is greeted with much applause, and that “this is a participation event”. So, get into the show, but make sure everyone else has a chance to enjoy themselves too. Seems sensible enough. Recovery and If I Ever I Stray are sung by pretty much everyone in attendance. This is a party!
The Sleeping Souls – Ben Lloyd (guitar, mandolin), Nigel Powell (drums), Matt Nasir (piano) and Tarrant Anderson (bass) have been backing Turner for some years now and display a knowledge of the man and the music that only comes with time and dedication. Musically and visually, they do much to augment the show. Lloyd obviously likes running around, while Anderson treats his bass as a percussion instrument on occasion. Powell and Nasir don’t get the opportunity to leave their stations but do provide some polished harmonies to go along with their main duties.
Turner jokes about Harry the Camel, Australia’s first of the species and an Adelaide resident. He’s still perplexed about the 30-minute timezone change from the eastern states but accepts the local view that it is no bad thing.
It’s almost impossible to single out songs for special mention, such is the consistently high calibre of Turner’s songs and tonight’s performance by the quintet. This is even more impressive when taking into account that this is the band’s 166th show for the year, the very last one, and they all get to go home to England tomorrow. Lesser mortals perhaps might have phoned this performance in. Not these guys.
There’s a nice moment when Turner introduces Ruby, at her first-ever rock and roll show, to accompany him on harmonica, playing a solo in Dan’s Song. Unexpected, but it goes down well with the crowd.
Turner appears to know and appreciate where he is, in terms of popularity, and he’s also aware of what he brings to the stage. He spends longer than most thanking the support acts, his road crew, and the audience. He apologises for not being in Adelaide for three and a half years, and promises he’ll be back sooner than that.
The solo bracket features the aforementioned Dan’s Song as well as fabulous versions of Wessex Boy and The Ballad Of Me And My Friends.
The Sleeping Souls reappear and join Turner for a climactic ending to the set. I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous, The Next Storm, Try This At Home and I Still Believe raise the roof, but there’s more to come.
The encore starts gently with a solo rendition of Be More Kind. The Way I Tend To Be and Get Better build things nicely before the last number, Four Little Words, goes through the gears to leave the audience breathless. Turner stage dives and manages to keep singing as he is ferried from one side of the stage to the other.
And, then, we are done. Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls have, again, showed that they know how to put on a show. After 20 years on the road, Turner is showing no signs of relenting. He appears to still have much to give. It’s the way he tends to be.
Image courtesy of David Robinson