Frank Turner -- The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA | 28 January 2017
Photos Courtesy of: Kathy Flynn
Three years ago someone gave me a ticket to see Frank Turner at the Fonda Theater in L.A, and my life was forever changed. I watched from the balcony as Frank poured his heart into the audience, and they poured it all back, singing along as one to each and every song. I wondered how I had missed him until then, and vowed to never watch Frank from the balcony again.
Since then I have seen 13 shows, including three I travelled out of state for. When you travel out of state, you sometimes think you are a big deal, “Oh, I travelled a long way for this.” With Frank Turner, you realize most of the crowd has travelled a long way for it. Travelling from show to show is a thing Frank Turner fans do. His audience is fervidly devoted, and after your first show, you understand why. No one, except possibly Springsteen in his prime, puts on a show like Frank Turner.
At the WIltern, Frank Turner took the stage alone with his guitar for his newest song, “Sand in the Gears.” It’s a powerful protest song, turning despair and escapism into action, and, even though the song is brand new, and only played live on this current tour, most of the audience already knew the words, and sang along.
After the simple opening, the Sleeping Souls, Frank’s longtime backing band, bounced on stage, bring the energy up to 11 as they ripped into “The Next Storm,” off of Frank’s most recent album, Positive Songs for Negative People, followed by “I Still Believe” which featured opening act and all around ace songwriter Will Varley joining Frank on stage for a harmonica solo. Frank then proceeded to power through high energy renditions of all his best known songs for the next 90 minutes, while the crowd danced and sang along to everything. The set varies somewhat every night, and the Los Angeles crowd was treated to a brand new rendition of “A Silent Key,” Frank’s ode to Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who died in the Challenger space shuttle explosion 31 years ago to the day.
Opening acts were John K. Samson from the Canadian band The Weakerthans, the Arkells, and Will Varley. All were absolutely wonderful and worth showing up early for.