Live Review: Frank Turner @ Metronome

Frank Turner was warmly welcomed to Nottingham’s Metronome, a 400 capacity venue on May 27th. Jodie Averis reviews.

Accompanied by his guitar, a stool, and Sleeping Souls band mate Matt Nasir, Turner was gearing up to gift his onlookers with a plethora of songs from his successful February effort, FTHC, as well as old fan favourites.

As mentioned, this is a tiny venue, which brings intimacy like no other. Whether drawing a crowd of 400 on this Thursday evening, or thousands at a festival like he has previously achieved, one thing that remains constant is his stage presence: Turner’s grace and command over his guitar demands your attention. The sound system of the Metronome exacerbated the intimacy of this gig, with the sounds of Turner’s voice, his guitar, and Nasir’s mandolin reverberating at perfect volume around this small and tightly packed room.

''Turner’s grace and command over his guitar demands your attention''

Turner immediately drew parallels to rock and roll legend Bruce Springsteen with his energy. He leaps from one song into the other with little to no break, and not once did it feel rushed; more like a man who lives and bleeds his music. The set began with The Gathering, taken from his most recent album. This was then followed by Haven’t Been Doing So Well, and fan favourite Photosynthesis. Turner’s voice, gravelly and powerful, did not waver once.

Fatherless and Miranda work extremely well in a back-to-back performance setting. Fatherless is a furiously honest retelling of a strained father-son relationship, full of Turner’s punk attitude, whereas Miranda offers a beautiful anecdotal anthem, representing transgender people in a tasteful manner. Turner jokes to the crowd, “I’ve written a lot of songs about my relationship with my dad, mainly bad, some good. I’ll explore this spectrum in due course”.

Turner’s allure comes from not only his incredible vocal and musical talent, and his energy, but also his ability to write honest lyrics about both touching and sentimental subjects. From tackling bad mental health to addiction and vices, Turner brings the crowd together by laying himself bare. Closeness, it seems, is the crux of any Turner show – as he frequently addressed his onlookers as ''friends''.

Turner dialled down the pace by dedicating his performance of A Wave Across a Bay to the late Scott Hutchinson. Hutchinson was the vocalist of indie-folk band Frightened Rabbit, who tragically committed suicide in 2018. His untimely death was the inspiration for this song, as Hutchinson and Turner were friends. Turner has written and performed a beautiful and heart-breaking song that offered a wonderful way to remember an artist and person so greatly missed by many. This was a deeply moving moment, touched by Turner’s breaking voice, and very much felt by the crowd, who greeted this with a burst of rapturous applause. “I don’t want this to be a sad song, I want it to be a happy moment where we remember Scott and the joy that he bought to everyone he knew with his art”, Turner tells the crowd.

''This was a deeply moving moment, touched by Turner’s breaking voice, and very much felt by the crowd''

Turner closed his show with anthems Recovery, Get Better and I Still Believe. In an evening full of anecdotes, tributes and bloody good music, Turner reminded everyone that it really was something as simple as rock and roll that could save us all.

Catch Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls throughout September and October, with him and the band visiting Rock City on this tour. It is not a night to be missed.

Jodie Averis


Edited by: Amrit Virdi

Featured image and in-article images and videos courtesy of Frank Turner via Facebook and YouTube.