Frank Turner Turns It Up a Notch at Terminal 5December 2nd, 2013
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – Terminal 5 – November 27, 2013
Frank Turner, one of the fastest-rising stars from the fringes of the folk revival of the last few years, played to his biggest New York City crowd yet on Wednesday at Terminal 5. Brimming with charisma, the English singer-songwriter electrified the crowd with his folkie drinking songs and smile-laden stage banter. For more than an hour he alternated between playing songs from his 2013 release, Tape Deck Heart, and his older material. Fans listened patiently during opening track “Photosynthesis” before they let loose with crowd-surfing galore and all sorts of dancing from the next song until the end of the set.
Rousing tracks like “Glory Hallelujah,” “The Way I Tend to Be” and “If I Ever Stay” were well tailored to the bigger space of Terminal 5, a good sign for Turner’s continued success. The special touches that make his music stand out from the folk crowd appeared throughout the night, like when Sleeping Souls guitarist Ben Lloyd pulled out an electric mandolin for a few songs, or those moments when Tarrant Anderson was working his electric bass so roughly that it had the thump of an acoustic upright bass.
But as great as Turner’s band is, his show is truly about him. What also made this go-round more impressive than past local shows is that Turner performed with a back injury bad enough that “doctor’s orders” meant he couldn’t even play the guitar. But fortunately, it didn’t matter, because thanks to Turner cranking up his frontman presence a notch, it was like no one even noticed anything was different. And while Turner’s smaller live performances tend to run on his energy and the crowd’s, last Wednesday’s show helped prove that he and his band can sound great in a big room without sacrificing that energy. —Sean O’Kane