“Did you go to Frank Turner last night?” my sister asked me the day after the show. When I said I had, she seemed surprised, “from what I’ve heard on the radio it doesn’t seem like something you would like.” What? They play him on the radio? I didn’t know that. Though from the massive crowd at the Majestic tonight, I should have been able to guess. I’d never sat in the balcony at the historic theater before but we made the right call heading up there tonight. There were a lot of people on the main floor, and we would have been pinned back by the sound board and miserable had we stayed. Instead we went upstairs where we got a seat in the first row of benches. Little did I know, there was a bathroom and a bar upstairs too. Once you got used to looking through, instead of at, the wire under the railing, it was a pretty sweet seat, without the crush of the ecstatic fanboys below. While it was a fairly coed crowd, those boys in the front row looked just as swoony as tween at a One Direction show. Thankfully without the squealing.
I’d listened to some of Turner’s stuff online, but I didn’t immediately fall in love with it. It wasn’t till I saw him live that I got it. He’s charming and witty, and handsome in a young British Springsteen sort of way. I liked that all the band members wore collared white shirts and black pants. Bands that dress up always impress. Even more impressive, the drummer kept his jacket on the whole time. I didn’t know any of the songs, and none of them really stuck with me, but I enjoyed all of them in the moment. He often gets compared to Billy Bragg, but I can tell you that his politics were much more entertaining than the last Billy Bragg political rally masquerading as a show had been.
Opener Ben Marwood made for an entertaining beginning to the night. Another Brit and a friend of Turner’s, he seemed delighted to be on his first tour of America. He had the manic effervescence to hold the attention of the near capacity crowd with just a guitar and a sense of humor. He reminded me of Australian Darren Hanlon who I’d seen once open for Bragg (the coincidence did not escape me). The second band on the bill were Minneapolitans Off with their Heads. They were louder and had less finesse than the other two bands on the bill, but they did have a couple things going for them. One was the name. Every time I think all of the good names are taken I see a band like the Devil Makes Three or Off with their Heads, well chosen boys. The second was that the lead singer looked as though he could have been Ben Affleck’s younger brother. Wait, actually the best thing about them though was their t-shirts which featured a Godzilla-sized kitten attacking a city skyline. Bloody brilliant.
Off with their Heads
Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls