Frank Turner’s returns to the Leeds Brudenell tonight. It’s an intimate affair, reflected by the fact that this gig sold out in less than a day. The die-hard Frank Turner fans are in residence and within five minutes of the doors opening the first three rows in front of the small stage are all taken.
Support act, Franz Nicolay bounders onto stage with a bottle of red wine and an accordion. If Franz Nicolay looks familiar, this is because he was the former keyboard player with the “Hold Steady”. An obvious eccentric, Franz has the look of a Parisian artist, but a voice not that dissimilar to Bruce Springsteen. It’s an odd combination, but I’m happy to report it works extremely well. It’s not often you witness a support slot so rapturously received, even Frank turned up at the fire door to catch the end of his set. If Franz ever decides on a career change, then a bash as a comedian may not be such a bad idea.
Armed with only a guitar Frank Turner launches into a rapturously received “I Knew Prufrock Before he got famous”. The lack of backing band enables the crowd to be an integral part of Franks show. Billed as “An Evening with Frank Turner”, Frank discusses each song with the crowd and there’s a fair amount of banter thrown around. Frank looks slightly perplexed at the constant request for Thunder Road.
It’s always a risk to preview unfamiliar material and Frank’s decision to play a vocal only track from his yet to be released album “England Keep My Bones” demonstrates this. It’s the low point of the evening and crowd member next to me fires up Farmville on her iPhone. It’s not long before Frank has us back onside “Cranking the non-stop hits” as he describes it. Tracks from the evening span all four studio albums and it’s hard to think of a track that is not dispensed in his near two hour set. Highlights include “The Queen is Dead” and a cover of “Hey Sapphire”, which sees Franz return to stage to cover his former bands track.
All in all, a great evening and a bit of a treat for the Turner faithful. Frank returns to the Leeds in August for the Leeds Festival, my tip would be to get to the front early.