Edit this event
- Frank Turner »
As part of the lavish reopening of the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, someone with extremely good taste booked Frank Turner to play an acoustic set. Unfortunately, he’s playing in a hallway on the fifth floor, in a thoroughfare where the end of each song is met with polite applause and a chorus of nervous “excuse me”s as various patrons of the South Bank Centre’s reopening edge past him to get to whatever’s going on in the main auditorium. This is weird.
As the bum bag-wearing and sandal-sporting hordes squint through their bifocals at the gangly, slightly hairy man pounding the shit out of his guitar, those of us actually here for Frank rather than queuing for the London Sinfonietta’s rendition of Terry Riley’s In C find ourselves outnumbered, as Mr Turner starts looking more and more bemused. During ‘Romantic Fatigue’ and ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The One Of Me’ he fixes his eyes on a distant point across the river as he tries to keep some kind of atmosphere in a space where, despite his best thrashings and limited PA, background conversation threatens to overwhelm him.
And yet…there’s something utterly perfect about all this. Like the best busker in the world, Frank is funny and engaging enough to make everyone queuing directly in front of him swivel on their heels to face him during ‘The Real Damage’ and then brings out something quite unexpected, something that turns this carpeted lobby into a huge sing-along. As the opening chords of ‘Dancing Queen’ ring out and the burgeoning audience collectively asks itself if he’s really doing this one, throats are cleared, hands are clapped and everyone belts out the Abba standard.
It’s surreal like nothing DiS has ever seen – and that includes watching a six-piece ska band play in the campsite at Reading Festival under a gazebo while dressed as ninjas – because even though this is arguably the most disparate crowd Turner will ever play to, everyone soon starts smiling and singing along. ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ finds itself buoyed by enough crowd members who know the words to make the final chorus gorgeously life-affirming, and then a final cover of ‘We Are The Champions’ leaves everyone wondering what the hell they just saw. Delightful, in the truest sense of the word.
Photograph from MySpace - click here
- Interview: Frank Turner on The Olympics, The Backlash, Thatcher and Black Flag
- Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart
- AIM confirm second Independent Music Awards for 2012
- SBTRKT, theQuietus, Matador + many more nominated for AIM's Independent Music Awards
- Spotifriday #109 - This week on DiS as a playlist ft. REM, The Antlers, Nicola Roberts
- Bestival 2011: the DiS review
- In Photos: Bestival 2011 @ Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
- In Photos: Kendal Calling Festival 2011 @ Lowther Deer Park, Hackthorpe