Concert Review – Frank Turner – Blind Pig – Ann Arbor – Aug 5, 2013
There was quite a bit of buzz around Frank Turner’s recent sold-out show at the Blind Pig. It’s the first go-around supporting his latest record Tape Deck Heart and tickets sold out quick and remained in high-demand. The record is Turner’s strongest yet – full of the singalong, anthemic melodies his fans have come to expect but a step forward into some more mature and deeper themes. He is distinctly British, offering up a Billy Bragg (or “Bill” as he calls him) cadence and brogue but against a generally more upbeat backdrop and without the incessant politics.
Word was that the Pig was oversold. They had too many people coming and were a little uptight about it. Merch tables were banished to the hall downstairs leading to the 8-Ball Saloon and security getting in was a little more intense than usual. Oddly, it seemed much more packed for the Ty Segall show I attended there earlier this year which lacked the “oversold” vibe but was much more crowded and offered a greater challenge gaining a decent vantage point.
Minneapolis quartet Off With Their Heads wrapped up a rowdy set of classic punk before Frank Turner and his band (The Sleeping Souls) took the stage around 10pm. The set was heavy on material from the new record and the younger crowd seemed to know every word to every song by heart as they shouted along with their PBR-holding fists in the air. Highlights included the new single Recovery and the standout downer-track from the new record Tell Tale Signs. Even then, the crowd sang along – “God damn it Amy, we’re not kids anymore” like it was another getting-my-shit-together upbeat rocker.
Between song banter was witty, with an honest attempt to bond with the Ann Arbor crowd by citing some wikipedia-sourced facts about the city being the largest supplier of magic supplies in the states (or something to that effect). The audience-participation (both coaxed and volunteered) was a bit over the top for this aging show-goer [insert curmudgeon joke here], but I suppose the kids were into it enough to dive in deeper than I’ve seen in years. I can’t deny that it added to the energy and spirit of the music and the show.
This guy is a HUGE deal in the UK. He’s gaining traction in a big way state-side as well. He’ll be back to Michigan this fall for shows in Grand Rapids and Detroit so you may wanna jump on-board and see him on the way up so you can brag to your friends that you were there 6 years from now when they’re complaining about ticket prices and availability at the Fox!