Hull isn’t usually at the top of the list when it comes to big acts planning their tours, especially when the tour is taking place when said act’s new album is currently battling for the number one spot in the charts. The first leg of Frank Turner’s ‘Be More Kind’ tour came this way though, so we hopped on the train to what was our most local show of the tour.
Opening the show was The Homeless Gospel Choir, who we’re huge fans of. We first saw Derek Zanetti play in 2015 opening for Anti Flag. That time, there were maybe only 50 people in the venue when he played, and he opted to perform unplugged on the floor rather than on the stage. No such comparison here, as the audience was at least a thousand strong. Playing a mixture of protest songs from last year’s ‘The Homeless Gospel Choir Presents Normal’ album and its predecessor ‘I Used To Be So Young’, Zanetti’s infectious personality and open, honest communication with the audience between songs will certainly have seen him leave with a few hundred new fans. The highlight of his set was the closing number, Normal, where he was joined onstage by Arkells for a full band version of the song.
As The Homeless Gospel Choir left the stage, his temporary backing band launched straight into their set. They’re not a band we were familiar with before this show, but we’ll certainly be looking into more of their work in the future. They’re a band that certainly know how to work a crowd. Their high energy performance and sound not too dissimilar to some of Frank’s later work really hit the spot.
Unfortunately for us, the review passes that we’d received were in a funny spot. The view was great, right above the side of the stage, but that meant we were right behind the speakers. As Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls started their set, the lack of stage monitors meant that all we could hear was the drums and some muffled vocals from the speakers facing away from us.
Opener 1933 really got the crowd moving and the energy continued through Get Better, The Next Storm and Recovery. At this point we decided that we’d have to move, and spotted some empty seats on the top row at the back of the room, so made our move during Make America Great Again so that we could actually hear what we were supposed to be reviewing.
We’ve been a little critical of Frank Turner at times. We’re part of the club that has been following him since the start, and there have been certain points where he’s released music that we just didn’t enjoy. In all honesty, those songs have always ended up growing on us eventually, though. One thing we’ve never been able to criticise however, is his performance in the live arena. Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls are one of the most well oiled, professional live bands you’re ever likely to see, and Turner himself is an incredible showman. This show is a perfect example of that.
The setlist for this show was a career spanning one, with older songs such as Reasons Not To Be An Idiot and The Road standing out. Glory Hallelujah was a particular highlight, although the whole set was packed with hits.
With his new album, Be More Kind, he seems to be bringing the message of the title to shows too. Early on in the set he stated that there was one rule at his shows: Don’t Be An Arsehole, going on to explain that even if you’re just having fun, if that’s having an impact on those around you, be mindful of that, because that counts as being an arsehole.
Sadly, we had to leave before the end to get the last train home, which is a shame because after a quick look online, the setlist continued to churn out hit after hit including Photosynthesis, I Still Believe and Four Simple Words.
In summary, based on this showing, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls are a phenomenal live band with a back catalogue that many won’t ever come close to. They’re hitting the Arenas on their next UK run, and you’d be a fool to miss it.