Nearly one year since the release of his ninth album, FTHC, Frank Turner is back on the road and when he announced his tour dates, there was one in particular that caught our eye. The first of the dates to sell out, Kanteena is a 500m2 repurposed warehouse in the centre of Lancaster with a capacity to host up to 700 people – with no limits to its capabilities, the venue can be transformed into a grand space for all kinds of music performances and we were more than confident that it was going to be the perfect space for an intimate Frank Turner gig.
Kicking off the evening was Wilswood Buoys from Essex – an acoustic duo that are currently cutting their name into the UK underground scene. Formed in 2007, the band consist of two friends that possess a unique sound that’s both familiar and accessible. Boasting a talent for intertwining multiple genres into one, the duo dazzled with their catchy riffs, big choruses and natural chemistry. A particular highlight of the set was a singalong to ‘Must Be Love’ from their debut album, which was produced by Frank Turner – it’s nothing short of impressive to see a band orchestrate such a triumphant singalong and we can’t wait for the next time.
Next up were The Lottery Winners and based on the reaction that they received from the crowd alone, you would have thought that they were the headline act. The four piece delivered a high energy set of infectiously catchy indie pop tracks that included ‘Much Better’,‘Start Again’ and their latest single, ‘Worry’. Hailing from Leigh, the band have been together for fourteen years – something that’s evident from not just their onstage rapport, but the pure joy on their faces as they play together. With a new album due for release in just a couple of months time and a huge headline tour ahead of them, 2023 is going to be a spectacular year for the Lottery Winners.
Walking onstage to a rapturous response, Frank Turner launched into the outrageously uplifting ‘Recovery’ before triggering circle pits galore with ‘Try This at Home’ and ‘Photosynthesis’. Next up was a couple of tracks from his latest album that saw the singer-songwriter return to his inner-punk form – the chaotic ‘Non Serviam’ and aggressively honest, ‘Haven’t Been Doing So Well’, which takes a brutal look at mental health.
After the pandemic, Frank said that he’d never take touring for granted again and if it wasn’t evident enough by the smiles on his and the Sleeping Souls’ faces that they were overjoyed to be onstage, it certainly was by the way that they stormed through their lengthy set list of tracks from all eras of Frank’s career. It’s often said that it’s impossible to feel sad at a Frank Turner show and this is due to his boundless energy and pure passion for what he does – something that oozes through upbeat tracks such as ‘Little Changes’ and ‘Wessex Boy’.
You’d expect the biggest crowd reaction to come from ‘The Road’ or ‘Plain Sailing Weather’ – one of the darker cuts from Frank’s back catalogue – but his fresh material has clearly had an impact on fans, with one of the highlights of the night being the somber yet optimistic ‘Little Life’ from FTHC, which saw Frank joined by Katie Lloyd from the Lottery Winners.
Though Frank’s sets are notorious for being high energy, he’s perfected the art of a solo acoustic segment and tonight’s saw him perform ‘The Graveyard of the Outcast Dead’,‘There She Is’ and ‘Thatcher Fucked the Kids’, before the Sleeping Souls returned to the stage for ‘Don’t Worry’ – an eponymous track from 2018’s Be More Kind. Next was a triple whammy of liveliness in the form of ‘If Ever I Stray’, ‘The Next Storm’ and ‘Out of Breath’, before the set came to an almighty end with the life affirming jubilant stomper ‘I Still Believe’ .
Returning to the stage, Frank took the time to introduce ‘A WaveAcross the Bay’. Dedicating the emotional track to everyone who’d lost somebody before their time, he explained how it was written in honour of his late friend, Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. Silence was cast upon the venue for the entirety of the performance and it was heartwarming to see the crowd’s level of respect for Frank as he shared such a personal track with us. After raising the tempo up with ‘1933’ and ‘Get Better’, the night came to a perfect end with the anthemic ‘Four Simple Words’ and as the lights came on with the crowd still singing the outdo, we were already thinking about the next tour.