This was a really fun evening, the start to the four day no-work Easter weekend, with weather that we’d be lucky to get in August. It couldn’t have started better either; drinks with some of my friends from work on the grass by City Hall, overlooking Tower Bridge, clinging on to the last sun of the day. These guys are the best – we were having fun there for hours until it started to get a little cold. There was even time for a quick drink in the pub before heading up to Shoreditch for the Strummerville Spring Sessions.
This was a mini festival organised by the people at Strummerville – The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. It’s taking place in a car park next to the Queen Of Hoxton pub, which was intriguing, there were 11 bands playing plus DJs until 6am, but I was most keen to check it out because Frank Turner was playing what would be his 1000th solo gig, so it was a pretty special occasion for him.
Frank Turner is a legend
End of. I was lucky to see him for the first time in a tiny venue in Sheffield when he was singing in Million Dead, a hardcore punk band that was active until 2005. I must admit I knew nothing of his solo career until I went to see Jonah Matranga, one of my favourite singers, at The Spitz in London in late 2007. Jonah was on before Frank and it was the first time I’d seen either of them live. They both exceeded my expectations and even got together for a rendition of Abba’s Dancing Queen to close Frank’s set. I’ve been a big fan of Frank and an even bigger fan of Jonah ever since.
So we managed to find the venue pretty easily after a quick bus ride where a kind man gave me some money for the bus fare as my Oyster Card was dead and I only had 20p on me. Anyway there was a big group of teenagers outside the venue who’d bought tickets but couldn’t get in as they weren’t 18. We felt a bit sorry for them and tried to sneak a couple of them past the bouncers but they weren’t having any of it. Oh well, worth a try.
It was really busy when Frank Turner took to the stage in what was more a dilapidated warehouse than a car park (though the whole place had been done up really nicely to look like a festival with a little bus and plenty of sofas and flags), but we managed a decent enough view. Now I’d had quite a bit to drink by this point so can’t remember much of the setlist but we got most of the classic Frank tunes played here, including the amazing Ballad Of Me And My Friends which got the biggest singalong of the night, with only the crowd singing at one point. Frank was having a great time, and you could really tell that this 1000th solo show meant a lot to him. He’s become such a huge star very quickly over the last few years. We even got a couple of covers including Staring At Strangers On Trains, a great Million Dead song.
It was really good to hear The Road, Photosynthesis, Long Live The Queen and old favourite Nashville Tennessee and a new song I Am Disappeared which will be on his upcoming new album England Keep My Bones when it’s released later this year.
All in all a fantastic night, and I can’t wait to see Frank Turner again (with Jonah Matranga, YAY!!) on May 26th at the Hippodrome in Kingston. A few more of our friends turned up a bit later so we had more fun dancing to a couple more bands until fatigue kicked in sometime after 2.30am and I had to make my long journey home on the night bus. I seem to remember smashing my can of cider on my mates head at one point, then throwing it into the air before continuing to dance. Hmmm, maybe less cider next time.
- Frank Turner – Love Ire & Song | Amazon | Play
- Frank Turner – Sleep Is For The Week | Amazon | Play
- Frank Turner – Poetry Of The Deed | Amazon | Play
- Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones (Deluxe) | Amazon | Play
- Jonah Matranga – There’s A Lot In Here (+ DVD) | Amazon | Play
- Jonah Matranga – And | Amazon | Play