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Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls @ O2 Academy, Liverpool, UK 25/04/2018

Frank Turner was in Liverpool last night, making it his 2159th show, to celebrate the release of his forthcoming album Be More Kind.

Frank Turner put on a breathless performance. Photo by Georgia Flynn
Frank Turner put on a breathless performance. Photo by Georgia Flynn

The Hampshire singer-songwriter continued what feels like a never-ending tour with a stop in Liverpool’s O2 Academy. Along for support were The Homeless Gospel Choir and Canadian pop-rock band, Arkells.

Hailing from Pittsburgh, Derek Zanetti A.K.A The Homeless Gospel Choir started the night with a host of emotionally-charged protest songs. Only armed with his acoustic guitar and passionate on-stage presence, it felt like he could take on the world.

The Homeless Gospel Choir started the night with a moving set. Photo by author.
The Homeless Gospel Choir started the night with a moving set. Photo by author.

Making a point to say that “this song is a protest song” at the start, while his vulnerability showed, his words were emphatic and invoking. He appeared to connect with the crowd, his protest songs weren’t all political in the sense of MP’s and the like but of social politics and finding your way in the world.

His lasting impression came when he geared up for one more song, which he brought Arkells out to help with. “Punk rock isn’t dressing all in black and having to be tall, looking like The Ramones… it’s about having heart to change things, the heart to be different. Punk rock is you making a difference”. He made the point that it’s good to not be normal and to stand out and be yourself, then proceeded to launch into an emphatic performance of his song, aptly titled ‘Normal’. It was a stunning start to the night at the O2 Academy.

Arkells helped Zanetti out with his last song and instead of going off, they let him take his bow and then got straight into it, leaving no time for a breather, or to get another pint…

The Ontario band brought massive hooks and fun melodies to the Academy as they asked of the crowd to find that “Friday night pulse”. On their quest to finding it, frontman Max Kernell, led the way with his infectious charm and ability to rile up an audience.

Midway through, Kernell looked for someone who knew how to play guitar to join them on stage. Before you knew it, the lucky guy James, was up there and owned the moment. From bringing people on stage to submersing himself into the crowd, Kernell thrived off the energy during the bands debut appearance in Liverpool.

After supporting Turner during his North American tour, Frank asked Arkells to join him on his UK tour. Photo by author.
After supporting Turner during his North American tour, Frank asked Arkells to join him on his UK tour. Photo by author.

In an era where there’s so much music that’s manufactured and soulless, Turner had in his arson two great support acts full of passion and heartfelt songs.

Frank Turner was in Liverpool only two months ago for a special performance in EBGBS as part of Independent Venue Week. The singer returned to play his 2159th show, with a sold-out venue at his mercy.

2159 shows in, Turner still performs with such passion and heart. Photo by Georgia Flynn.
2159 shows in, Turner still performs with such passion and heart. Photo by Georgia Flynn.

With a career-spanning set list, the charismatic showman had the packed Academy in the palm of his hand. Each word that he sang was sung back with a roar.

The ‘Polaroid Picture’ singer, treated fans to an emphatic performance, showcasing songs from the new album Be More Kind, which is out on May 4th, as well as the classics.

Standing tall on top of speakers, crowd surfing or thrashing around on stage, Turner’s energy was infectious. It was like watching a puppet master pull strings, as he danced with the crowd, beckoned them to sit down until he commanded them to jump or demand a circle pit to kick off. If Frank asked them to jump, it was a question of how high.

His message throughout the night was to show more compassion, care for one another and do as his new album asks; be more kind. If there was ever a performance to make someone change and be that way, Frank Turner was the man to do it.

Frank Turner’s new album Be More Kind, is out on May 4th. Photo by Georgia Flynn.
Frank Turner’s new album Be More Kind, is out on May 4th. Photo by Georgia Flynn.

Photos of Frank Turner by Georgia Flynn. Check out her work on her Instagram, @georgiaflynncreative and website.

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