Frank Turner Sells Out The Bowery Ballroom

November 7th, 2011

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls – The Bowery Ballroom – November 3, 2011

(Photo: Kirsten Housel)

English troubadour Frank Turner hit The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night in the second of the tour’s two sold-out New York City shows with his newly introduced backing band, the Sleeping Souls. Previously known for his more intimate singer-songwriter crowd interaction, with this accompaniment, Turner turned up the decibels, cracked jokes and rocked out like no Bowery Presents venue has seen before this tour. Hardcore fans will always belt out every word from albums like Love Ire & Song, but the night’s major surprise was just how well the crowd knew the slew of material released just in the past year.

To start the set, Turner played newer songs, including “I Still Believe” and “One Foot Before the Other”—welcomed with intense fan response—before easing into a much older song, “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous.” Another older song, “Love Ire & Song,” came shortly afterward, and Turner introduced it as one for the punks and acknowledged his own punk-rock past. Midset, Turned played his newest song yet, a slower one that spoke of good summertime memories and pointedly referenced the tearing down of central London’s famous Astoria venue to build a railway. He continued with the also slower (and older) love song “Substitute” and the stunning a cappella “English Ghost,” rich with British history. The show’s first crowd surfer came a few songs later, during “Long Live the Queen.”

To wind down, Turner played two covers, Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and his regional pick, “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. After a quick break, he and the Sleeping Souls returned to the stage for “The Ballad of Me and My Friends” and an extended version of the forever a fan favorite “Photosynthesis” (with its “I won’t sit down and I won’t shut up and most of all I won’t grow up” refrain) completed by more crowd surfers. —Kirsten Housel