Frank Turner at Leeds 2010
A phrase that follows Frank Turner far, wide and wherever he goes is 'punk troubadour'. In fact it's probably clocked up miles to even rival Mr Turner's its done the rounds so much. Yes, he has a roaring passion for punk. Yes, he has done a lot of travelling with his guitar. But just go to one of his live shows and you will see there is so much more to him than being some wandering chap who's taken a couple of minutes out to churn out a few songs. His set at Leeds this year confirmed his abilities as a thoroughly charming and erudite poet... and a fucking amazing musician.
The crowd that turned up that afternoon in the NME/Radio 1 tent were all his. They were people that made sure they had been to the toilet and got a beer in to make sure they didn't miss a minute. The air was pregnant with expectation for something dazzling. As the man himself strode on stage looking elated with guitar held aloft, the crowd cheered, and as he opened with 'The Real Damage' they began to sing twice as loud.
The singalong is something that Frank Turner has got down to perfection after all the hundreds of solo shows he has performed. This was no exception. Despite being on a large stage in a festival atmosphere, there was a real sense of intimacy to the set. Songs like 'Substitute' and 'Long Live The Queen' and their high emotional charge made the strong echo of the collective voice really rather beautiful. You really got the impression of a sense of camaraderie between those on stage and those in the crowd... you feel like that chap up there is your mate. This is more than likely something to do with the honest and open performance put in, the fun in songs like 'Try This At Home' as well as the story telling aspect of songs like 'Photosynthesis'.
'Life is too short to live without poetry', apt lyrics from the stunningly performed 'Poetry of the Deed' is the underlying sentiment feeding through so much of Turner's material. This set became a delicious indulgence of this, providing one of the feel-good highs of the whole weekend. See kids, you don't need drugs at all.