Frank Turner Stirs the Pot

July 31st, 2013

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 30, 2013

In just the first of a two-night run at Music Hall of Williamsburg, English troubadour Frank Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, played to a full crowd brimming with energy. Using his guitar, his personable lyrics and the full band behind him, Turner stirred the pot of singing fans before him again and again, keeping them happy throughout and assuring that many will get to work today with no speaking voice left. The relentless set lasted more than an hour, and unlike some shows that may lose the back end of the crowd to people trying to catch an early subway home, it sure looked like not one soul had left.

Perhaps the best thing about Turner’s shows these days is that they have become more than just “drinking-song singer plays to a drinking-song crowd.” Instead, Turner has elevated the experience to a sort of theater—one that lets him reasonably ask the audience not to fight because “we’re all friend here, yeah?”—that includes participatory moments, which ranged from the waltz-y dancing during the set opener, “Four Simple Words,” to the audience sitting down and springing up during the final song, “Photosynthesis.”

In between there was a mix of just about everything else, from the cheeky philosophy of “Glory Hallelujah” (which starts: “Brothers and sisters, have you heard the news?” and rings with a chorus of “There is no God!”) to the declarations of “I remain/ I am remembered” during the menacing “One Foot Before the Other.” Those in the heavily tattooed crowd gladly threw up their hands and shouted all of this back at Turner without hesitation, so if your coworkers’ voices sound a bit gravelly this morning, you might now know where they were having fun last night. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |

(See Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls play Terminal 5 on 11/27.)