LIVE REVIEW: Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, Pet Needs, Truckstop Honeymoon, Rock City, Nottingham, 27/9/2022
It is no secret that Rock City is a venue very close to Frank Turner’s heart. Those two words are literally tattooed on him after all. He also performed his 2000th show at the venue, so his hugely anticipated return to the “best gig venue in the world” (his words, not ours!) was packed out.
But of course, what every great gig needs are some strong supports which came in the format of Truckstop Honeymoon, and Pet Needs. The first of which can be described as “bluegrass, punk-rock and a palpable does of soul” and that’s what it was.
Despite the earlier start, the people of Nottingham came out in their numbers to support what Frank Turner had described as the “best band on the earth”, and for the 20 minutes or so they performed a strong set full of strongly American style country music. Visually, the band comprise of Mike West and Katie West, with Mike looking exactly what you’d expect someone with his voice to look like. Katie carries a big cello on stage and makes playing it look easy, it was a fun way to kick off the evening. 8/10
Pet Needs provided a different taste to the evening with their brand of garage rock. As the place was near filling up, their enthusiasm and energy was infectious as they had people bouncing and getting involved in the music. Tracks from their latest LP Primetime Entertainment were received well, and frontman Johnny Marriott’s awkward dancing and jumping was a fun enough spectacle itself, after all if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, how will anyone else that is watching? 8/10
Now onto the main event, anticipation was evidently in the air as the place was rammed. Surprisingly, Frank Turner opted to open with Four Simple Words, a track that usually finishes his set, but it is a damn good party song.
Rather surprisingly, the Rock City crowd did take a bit of time to get going despite all the evident hype in the air. It wasn’t until his fourth track, Punches, from his new LP, which he labelled a punk song (slightly generously), people started moving. However, that took nothing away from the band’s performance.
As always, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls kept up a quick punk-style pace to the gig. As he whittled through tracks from his 2008 effort Love Ire & Song and 2022’s FTHC. Speaking of the latter, tracks such as Miranda, a track about Turner’s father with whom he has had a fractured relationship with but is now back in his life and is now a woman called Miranda went down very well.
The crowd was almost quite respectful at times as Turner sung A Wave Across A Bay, a track about the late Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison. “There must have been a moment just before you hit the water, when you were filled with a sense of peace and understanding”, it was a beautiful tribute.
About two thirds into the set, Turner performed a few of his solo tracks, giving a slightly different vibe to what had been a lively set, before bringing The Sleeping Souls back onto the stage to perform some of the hits, which seemingly everyone knew the lyrics to.
As the band once again arrived back on the stage for the encore, Frank played a rare cut of Thatcher Fucked the Kids much to the crowd’s happiness. It’s worth mentioning just how good of a frontman Frank Turner is. His stage presence, energy, and passion for his job is really quite something, especially considering the band are playing two hour sets every night.
Closing on the track he performed at the London 2012 Olympic Ceremony – I Still Believe was a fantastic way to end what had been a fantastic night of live performances. Every single person in that crowd was chanting “I still believe” likely long into the night.
The gig was a tribute to just how good of a performer Frank Turner is, and it’s by no means a surprise how strong his fan base is, and how he will continue to sell out UK tours for as long as he lives. If he plays near where you live, he’s certainly worth seeing. 9.5/10
Written By: Joe Loughran