Two thousand live shows is no easy feat by any means. And Thursday night, Frank Turner, one of Britain’s hardest working musicians had his turn to celebrate the milestone. Backed by his band, The Sleeping Souls and bringing along friends from the beginning of his solo career, Beans on Toast and The Tailors. For the latter’s first show in six years.
One of the rarest occasions to see at a live show, especially in a less than two-thousand five hundred capacity venue is for the place to be packed out completely from before the show even begins. With a gigantic queue out the door to get in, people we’re all set and ready to see the headline artist play guitar with as he said his “favourite band ever”. Marking their appearance at the Nottingham show the start of the reunion tour, the band no doubt picked up a good number of new fans.
Folk artist Jay McAllister, better known as Beans on Toast was the second to take a stage. A Xtra Mile label mate who shares a similar fan base as Frank, it was never a doubt that Beans’ set would go down a treat. Opening his set with ‘2016’ the opening track from his new album, declaring it would be the last time playing it. He assured the crowd “we only have a short one tonight, but don’t worry, I’m a fucking pro”. Playing a nine song set, he far from fell short of ramping up the excitement in the room ready for Frank to take the stage.
Turner brought the night into full swing with a solid two-hour set, filled with full band songs, accompanied as ever with The Sleeping Souls, a solo break halfway in and also a pretty impressive Motorhead cover. Mostly pulling songs from his latest two releases, ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ and ‘Tape Deck Heart’ respectively, but bringing in songs from his entire repertoire of full length albums which was by far the most effective way to celebrate the journey that led to this show. Turner also took time out of his night to give a couple of speeches, which to no surprise went down with thunderous applause, particularly his effort to spread awareness of ‘Safe Gigs for Women’. A campaign to stop harassment of females at live shows.
The night never had a dull moment, with Frank’s solo slew of songs mid-set it allowed for a quiet moment of a silent crowd stood appreciating. Followed interestingly enough with a crowd surfing adventure for Beans on Toast which involved picking up two shots of whiskey from the bar, getting high fives from the sound guys and sharing said shots with a crowd member at the opposite side of the venue before making his way back, all during the two-minute window of the full band section of ‘If Ever I Stray’.
The night was never in doubt of being a mammoth celebration, with every person in attendance trekking from all over the world to bear witness to the night. It was a fairly stellar way to put an end to a pretty widely considered a crappy year. But after seeing the curve of Frank’s success over the past ten years, it’s time to steel ourselves for the next one thousand shows to do this all over again.