As most of the publicists I deal with know, I am a sucker for a pair of free tickets and a photo pass, especially if it’s to the legendary Fillmore. Now if you can throw in even the slightest buzz around the artist, I’m sold. Needless to say, I got an invite to see Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, and I gladly accepted. Tape Deck Heart is one of those records that I have seen over and over again but never listened to. After seeing this show, the record is now on repeat, and I have a new favorite T-shirt.
How familiar am I with Frank Turner? To be honest, not very, but I do love a good story of the underdog winning. That’s exactly the case here as Frank Turner has risen from the ashes of his hardcore punk band Million Dead and started over as a sort of folky punk troubadour. Trading in his post-hardcore edge, Frank has done a complete musical 360 and stripped down to just acoustic guitar, with some incredibly compelling stories to tell.
Fast forward several years, and Frank Turner has taken his acoustic solo show to a whole new level, growing his band along with his fan base. He’s garnered a massive following in the UK that is now spreading quickly in the US. San Francisco welcomed Frank and his Sleeping Souls with a sold-out crowd that literally hung on every note from the energetic frontman.
The Sleeping Souls were on fire that night, adding an incredible live wall of sound to Frank’s songs, something that comes across much better live than on the album in my opinion. Highlights from the set included “Photosynthesis,” “Try This at Home,” “Glory Hallelujah,” and the incredibly catch “Recovery.”
Bottom line: what I expected to be a singer-songwriter night turned out to be one hell of an amazing performance by Frank and his Sleeping Souls, firing on all cylinders.
I have to mention the opening band as well, called the Smith Street Band. Not the best band name in the world, but these guys were fantastic. I watched their entire set thinking to myself how great they were and trying to think of whom they reminded me. Then it hit me: Nirvana. And that’s a good thing in this case. Check these guys out for a blast back into ’90s grunge a la post-grunge greatness.
Have you seen Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls live? What did you think? Join the conversation in the comments below. Check out more photos from the show in the gallery.