Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls shake things up in NoHo

By Sarah Robertson

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On Sunday Nov. 24 Frank Turner and his five-piece band, The Sleeping Souls, played at the Calvin Theater to a room full of impassioned punk fans. The crowd gathered in front of the stage early on to be as close to the English punk-rock singer as possible. The dedicated fans of the group who weren’t singing every lyric were either crowd surfing or dancing throughout the entire show. The performance marked Turner’s 1503rd show of his career, and his second time playing in Northampton.

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Opening the show was the interactive dance party duo Koo Koo Kanga Roo. The Minnesota based pair, simply known as Bryan and Neil, sang songs about the alphabet, cats, friendship bracelets and “awesome rainbows” that were better suited for a five-year old’s birthday party than a rock concert. Nonetheless, the audience danced along as the band played a half hour of their hyperactive children’s pop.

Next up was the Australian punk quartet The Smith Street Band. Their music, while rough and almost inaudible at times, got the show back into the right mindset and ready for a real rock concert. The Smith Street Band played nonstop for half an hour and ended their set with their most popular song, “Young Drunk.” Their style of classic punk was the perfect warm up to prepare the audience for Turner’s set.

To kick off the show, Turner ran on stage as the band started playing one of his very first hits, “Photosynthesis” from the album “Love Ire & Song.”  Anyone that was still sitting quickly stood up as soon as they recognized the tune and remained standing for the remainder of the show.

Afterwards, without hesitation, the band launched into one of their new songs, “Plain Sailing Weather,” to keep the momentum going. Behind Turner hung a massive tapestry of his tour flag: a picture of a human heart with a cassette tape inside of it for the newest album, aptly titled “Tape Deck Heart.” The band played many songs from the new album, but they made sure to play the classics as well to please the longtime fans in the audience.

After the first few songs, Turner took a break to explain how a back injury was preventing him from playing the guitar that evening. He apologized for his injury, but assured that it would take nothing away from the performance, and it certainly did not. Two slipped discs in his back were not enough to keep Turner from jumping and dancing around the stage throughout the whole show.

True to his antagonistic ways, Turner did not forego playing some of his older, more controversial songs. He played “Glory Hallelujah,” in which he states “There is no god/no heaven and no hell” and the tongue-in-cheek breakup ballad “Reasons Not to Be an Idiot.”

While Turner is not shy when it comes to sharing his beliefs and making a few enemies, he has no tolerance for any animosity among his fans. At one point, a fight broke out in the standing section of the audience and Turner went so far as to stop the show and reprimand the brawlers for ruining the concert for everyone else. After the fighters were escorted out, the audience applauded Turner’s profanity-filled rant and the band restarted the song “I Am Disappeared” with even more fervor than before.

Some other standout songs by Turner were his sing-a-long to “Wessex Boy,” an energetic rendition of “If Ever I Stray” and finally his newest hit single “Recovery.” In between songs Turner preached happiness and community, giving the entire show a positive feel. He ended the show easily with a new track “Four Simple Words” that soothed the audience before they left for the evening.

Turner is now reaching the end of his worldwide tour as he moves on to his next few shows in Boston, Canada and Pennsylvania before returning to England. Undoubtedly the band’s tour flag, a fan-sponsored flag that has somehow made its appearance at every show on the Tape Deck Heart tour this year, will make its way there too.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at [email protected]

 

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