I’m currently writing this at 23:37 which means if I get this finished in 23 minutes, I’m not technically late for today!
Yesterday, Frank Turner changed my life. Well, more specifically his gig did.
I have to admit before yesterday I was only a vauge fan. I had heard a few songs and enjoyed them but hadn’t really listened properly. If asked I would have probably answered the question “Have you heard of him?”, with a “Yeah, he’s alright”. That changed yesterday.
We went as a present for my friend for her birthday as two of my friends are huge fans and it so happened Frank would be playing Rock City that week, his 1994 show. We went early to see the warm-up acts and get a good spot and boy am I glad we did. The first was Esme Patterson, who sounded a lot like a more rock-version of Lissie. Also her hair would look like mine if I cut it shorter. When I mentioned this to my friend she said that I should it mine, so we’ll see if that works out. However, the one I want to talk about more is Felix Hagan and the Family.
So on walk 3 guys, who look like fairly normal rock-band types, black t-shirt, black-jeans, serious fringes. Then the music starts and on come two girls who would not look out of place at Rocky Horror. This was unusual but you know, it’s rock and Roll. And then Felix arrives. Head thrown up in a bandana, glittery shoulder strap, faux-fur boa draped around his shoulders. A-Ma-Zing. I looked towards my friends who look as perplexed as I do. But the the music starts and then the Show begins. I always prefer bands who make their shows into a performance. It just makes it seem like they care that little bit more about making sure the audience is having a good time. All three of us have not stopped listening to their EP and I encourage you all to listen too. It will transform you.
It was 35 minutes between the and Frank coming on stage. I started to get nervous. You see, every gig I have been to, there has always been a moment I felt sick. I think it’s a combo of the heat, and the proximity, and the best thrumming through the floor. We had positions on the steps running around the main floor, which made things better as I had a little space around me but I still worried that I could ruin things at any moment by running through the crowd to the bathroom.
But the lights went down, and it was show time. And What A Show. Somehow I had forgotten how much I liked rock. Now I’ve been to Leeds Fest (it’s about 30 minutes away from my house and is a right of passage for most 16 year olds) but in the intervening years I sort of lost touch with how much it meant to me. A few stunning, heart-wrenching lyrics. A melding of guitar and bass and drums that should be overpowering but instead is empowering. I didn’t know a lot of the lyrics but that didn’t matter much as there was always a chorus line or two I could catch, or a lyric that rung out clearly as the crowd chanted along relentlessly to every song. There’s something about a good rock show that creates a community unlike any other. It was the best brand of pessimistic optimism that I needed right now.
There was also a bit of crowd surfing that was awesome. Lovely Connor from the crew, with lovely luscious locks, crowd surfed, under instruction from Frank, to the bar, grabbed two shots of whiskey, traveled over the entire crowd, did a shot with possibly the happiest-looking punk rocker ever, and then was promptly towed back towards the stage. it was amazing and it was made more hilarious by the professional photographer snapping pics, only to be faced with a Jaws-esque image of Connor being thrown towards him. he had to choose between the camera and Connor and obviously Connor won out.
And best of all, I didn’t feel ill once in the gig!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some punk-rock to attend to.