LIVE: Frank Turner – Apollo, Manchester, 21/08/2021 2

LIVE: Frank Turner – Apollo, Manchester, 21/08/2021

Nobody works harder than Frank Turner and the proof is right there in the fact that pre-pandemic, he’d played over 2500 gigs over the course of his fifteen year solo career.

When the pandemic hit, Frank was one of the artists in the midst of a tour that inevitably had to be cancelled and was quick to embark on a series of live streams to raise money for independent venues and crew members who were left without income.

Seventeen long months later, Frank is back on the road and we were ecstatic to say the least about seeing him at the Manchester Apollo – a gig that was originally due to take place at Urmston Cricket Club. Things outside may have been a little different – you had to prove you were fully vaccinated or had recently received a negative result to a lateral flow test, but once you were inside the venue and surrounded by people in Frank Turner t-shirts, it was like coming home.

Joined by The Sleeping Souls, Frank opened his set with the rousing ‘Get Better’ before diving into ‘1933’, followed by a punk-infused version of the usually delicate, ‘Little Changes’.

If it wasn’t evident enough by the smiles on their faces that Frank and co were overjoyed to be back onstage, it certainly was by the way that they stormed through their lengthy set lists of songs both old and new.

The first new track to be introduced was ‘The Gathering’ – described by Frank to be his lockdown song, it’s a lively track about coming together for the return of live music. Just a few songs later was the live debut of another new track – titled ‘Non Serviam’ and described by Frank to be a ballad (it most certainly was not), it was a raucous track that saw him revisit his hardcore days in Mongol Horde.

The setlist covered all areas of Frank’s back catalogue, with highlights including one of his darker cuts, ‘Plain Sailing Weather’, solo performances of ‘There She Is’ and ‘Be More Kind’ and an emotive rendition of ‘I Am Disappeared’ – the evening possessed a community feel from the start, with 3000 people taking on the role of backing vocalists for the large majority of the set, particularly when it came to the encore.

Consisting of four tracks, the encore started with a solo Frank performing fan favourite, ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ before he was joined by The Sleeping Souls for ‘Recovery’, ‘I Still Believe’ and ‘Four Simple Words’. Capturing Frank’s punk rock ethos, the latter saw him ditch his guitar and pace around the stage, quite clearly having the time of his life, whilst his band took care of the tracks thrashing instrumentation.

When the house lights came on, the atmosphere was one of pure joy and with Frank’s new album due in early 2022, we hope that it won’t be too long before he’s back and we can experience it all over again!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.