I’m loving this recent album release shows that The Brudenell has been doing in conjunction with Leeds independent record store Crash Records. The deal; Buy a ticket in advance from the shop, in a bundle with the album on any format you choose for a bargain price. There have been intimate shows recently from the likes of Suede, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and The Kaiser Chiefs, who did a record four-show run here in one day! Not surprisingly, these shows sell out very quickly.
Now it’s the turn of Frank Turner. His new album ‘No Man’s Land’ has entered the charts at Number 3 this week, and I like to think we all helped by purchasing a copy in advance. I went for the indie only white vinyl/ticket bundle. That’s £23 for a record and a live show at my favourite venue…bargain!
The last time Frank Turner played Leeds was down the road at Leeds First Direct Arena earlier this year. Taking to the more intimate stage of The Brudenell , with just an acoustic guitar and no backing band, he whips up the same enthusiasm and energy for 400 people as he does for a few thousand in an arena with his band The Sleeping Souls.
Concentrating first on tracks from the new album, he opens with ‘Jinny Bingham’s Ghost’. The opening track from ‘No Man’s Land’ and one of the album’s highlights. The folky tale of a 17th century Camden killer is an upbeat, drinking song of the highest order. We all listen intently for the duration.
Next up Frank recounts the tale of ‘Rescue Annie’, the supposed jane doe who was used to model the death mask still used today as the CPR dummy. Frank goes on to introduce each new song with a bit of background story. So, on the hottest day for sometime he plays us a Christmas song called ‘The Graveyard Of The Outcast Dead’, of course he does, why not! Does it transport us to a cold December morning, in a different century? Does it hell, he’s no magician! It’s bloody roasting in here and the sentiment of the song does little to bring down the temperature.
Frank prepares us for ‘The Death Of Dora Hand’ telling us there’s a guitar solo and it’s hard, so if we could all shout loudly during the solo to cover up the mistakes, it would be appreciated! He even gets his roadie to bring a box out for him to put his “foot on the monitor, Slash-style” to help. A comedy moment that gets plenty of laughs and he does actually pull it off. “Doff your cap, boy”
‘The Lioness’ is full of punk attitude and aggression and Frank has the crowd in the palm of his hand with great crowd participation, getting us all to take over in singing the chorus back to him. The beautiful sentiment of ‘Sister Rosetta’ follows, the perfect swan song to ‘No Man’s Land’ before we get into more familiar territory. Having had the album on constant for the week, these songs are fresh and I know the lyrics, well at least the choruses, and it seems I’m not the only one.
The likes of the heartfelt ‘Be More Kind’ and ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ are greeted like old friends and sung back to their creator with the enthusiasm they deserve. A raucous and passionate ‘I Still Believe’ preaches camaraderie and the love for rock ‘n’ roll we all share. “I still believe in the need for guitars and drums and desperate poetry” he sings and it induces goosebumps in this setting just as much as the recorded version.
But the biggest cheer of the night is when he announces he is getting married next week, before bowing out with a soaring ‘The Ballad Of Me and My Friends’. Making it personal by changing the lyrics to suit the venue. Marvellous stuff indeed.
It’s well known that Frank Turner gives his all with every performance. He has a way of drawing you in, sharing his passion and inciting every member of his audience to get involved and feel a part of the show. And tonight’s was show no different.
Show number 2388 he tells us, yeah, he keeps count! And tonight he gave Leeds two intimate shows we will remember for years to come. One of those ‘you had to be there’ moments for sure.
Author: Ben Hughes
Photographs: Neil vary gig photography