Three Amazing Evenings with Frank Turner in Camden, May 2017

I’m just now coming out of ten days of feeling really sluggish thanks to severe bronchitis, sinusitis and inner ear infection and it’s about time I jot down some of my memories of the wonderful Lost Evenings in London. Wonderful memories of London are needed today more than ever, I think.

I shared photos of the event already, which can now be found at the end of this post. I’ll try to focus on the three shows in this post and might add yet another post  about the other things that were going on that weekend. We’ll see…

I had tons of fun with old friends and new ones and I really, really hope Lost Evenings will happen again next year in Camden Town and that I’ll once again will be able to be part of it. *fingers crossed*. Thanks to my gigbuddy Rebekka who took me along as her +1 for the early entrance for most the night, I had a great spot in the 2nd/3rd row, surrounded by like minded fans and we had so much to talk about. Especially once I had left my comfort zone and just started chatting :-)

Night #1 – Friday, 12 May
I admit I didn’t care all that much about the first support band, New Pagans, with Frank’s guitar tech Cahir on electric guitar. They were just not my cup of tea. The 2nd band, AJJ, was more to my taste. I had seen them support Frank in Germany in 2014 and had enjoyed them then and did so again this time. But honestly, it was Frank and the Sleeping Souls I had crossed the channel for. This first night was a good show. Not too many surprises on the set list yet, as it was sort of announced as “Greatest Hits I” and thus they played a lot of the hits from the first five albums mostly. During the PS4NP tour cycle 2015/2016 some of those had to make way for the new songs and thus it was great to hear the some of the older songs played once again.

My personal highlight of this first night though was my successful “delivery” of a baby present “WHAT?” you might ask. So here’s the story: A few years ago I discovered some cute small gifts for a baby or rather for baby parents. Parents, who have a thing for music in the broadest sense. Unfortunately I never knew parents I could give those to, because my friends who were into music either had no kids or those kids already were older and my friends with newborns or toddlers weren’t much into music. When I heard about the Souls’ Matt Nasir taking time off for paternal leave at the beginning of the year, I remembered theses small gifts and hoped that I might have a chance to give those to him at some point.

As I expected a lot of things going on at the Lost Evenings festival I knew there wouldn’t be a chance to actually catch Matt after a show, so I had decided to take my chances and for the first time in my life throw something on stage. Severely bubble wrapped and everything. I wanted to do that on the first night, because my 2nd show would be Frank solo and I was afraid to miss my chance if I wait till the final night. All through this first night I was still a bit anxious about the whole idea, because there isn’t really a good moment to throw anything during a live show without the risk of distracting the guys on stage. After the first few songs I had resigned myself to throw it during the break before the encore or even just after the show as I was pretty sure someone would pick the small package up and deliver it to the right person as it had “For Matt & his family” written on it in big black letters.

But then the Souls re-joined Frank after his solo acoustic part and after the first song they played together Frank said his usual “Let’s welcome back the Sleeping Souls…” and he kept talking about especially welcoming back Matt after his baby break and I realized that might be a good moment as Tarrant was standing still while Frank was talking. So I threw the package on stage where it landed in the vicinity of Tarrant’s feet while Frank was still chatting about Matt and was asking us to give Matt a round of applause and so on. The next few seconds are a bit hazy in my memory, probably because I was still worried about having caused some distraction. I think I remember Frank seeming to be a bit confused about what was going on, but maybe that was just my worried imagination. Tarrant picked up the package and handed it over to Matt and the next thing I clearly remember is Frank turning to Matt with an inquiring look. Matt hold up the package for Frank to see what’s written on it, which in turn made Frank say “And Matt just got a present. That’s fucking cool as shit!”

I had been so anxious about messing this all up, that I admit this was pretty cool to hear. Mission accomplished :-) !

Night #3 – Sunday, 14 May
I sat out the 2nd night as I’m not the biggest fan of “Sleep Is For The Week” and I also wanted to give my body a rest for at least one evening as I was afraid I’d be a wreck on Monday night otherwise. This third night definitely was my favourite of the three and possibly one of my favourite Frank gigs in a long time. I missed the Souls, of course, but the choice of songs for this night was just so amazing, that it made up for their absence. Sorry, guys.

This night was called “Sensible Sunday” in memory of the many Sunday nights of acoustic music that have taken place at the Nambucca about a decade earlier. I also really enjoyed the two support acts: Beans on Toast who played some great new songs: one about the General Election “For the Sake of the Children” and another one about environmental issues, which is something close to my heart, so that was pretty cool. Scott Hutchison, the lead singer of the Scottish band “Frightened Rabbits” was pretty cool as well. I liked his music and his stories. But he is a Scot, so he could read the phone book to me and I’d still be in awe ;-)

I had seen Frank do a solo acoustic show in France about two months ago and I had enjoyed that as well, but this night at the Roundhouse was so special, because of all the wonderful rare songs he played. I’m a bit of a nerd and about a year ago started a shows/songs spreadsheet to keep track of all the songs I’ve heard him play live. As it turned out on this Sunday night I heard eight songs (seven old and one new) played live for the first time. That’s like one third of the whole show!! And that was pretty amazing.

These songs were the Weakerthans’ cover “Plea from a Cat Named Virtute”, which I like all right and “Live Fast Die Old” in a nice slowed down version. Followed by a song he hadn’t played the night before, even though it actually belongs to the “Sleep Is For The Week” era, which the 2nd night was all about. “A song, that Americans tend to enjoy…” like he called it. Not just them, Frank :-). The song was “Heartless Bastard Motherfucker” and it’s one of my favourite songs when I need to let of some steam. Which is weird, because I can’t really relate to the lyrics, but I guess it’s the just liberating feeling of singing and swearing along and it was fun to sing that out loud at the Roundhouse. The next two songs were “Jet Lag” and “Hold Your Tongue”, which were great choices for an acoustic setting. Not some of my favourites in general, but they worked really well here.

He also played “Isabel”, which was lovely to hear, because it’s a beautiful song and I’m glad that Isabel and Frank are in a good place with each other again, so that he feels comfortable playing that song every once in a while. Another song was “Song For Josh” which I got through without crying, which was feat in itself, as it usually breaks my heart even when just listening to it in the solitude of my car or my living room. We were also treated to a new song: “1933” which was another glimpse of the great album which is in the works. At least I’ve enjoyed each of the three new songs I’ve heard him play live so far and I’m really looking forward to the new album.

The last song which had a live premiere for me was “Wherefore Art Thou, Gene Simmons?” and I admit I haven’t really been a fan of that song so far, but for some reason it really got to me that night. Maybe it was the additional story that put it a bit in perspective? Maybe it was the Souls endorsement of the song, because according to Frank they think it’s one of his best songs ever. Either way I have found a new appreciation for that song after this concert and that doesn’t happen all that often these days.

Night #4 – Monday, 15 May
The finale was sort of “Greatest Hits II” with the Sleeping Souls back on stage and a lot of songs from PS4NP (all my favourites!), but also some more good old classics. I was quite happy to have the chance to see Will Varley on stage again as the first support, because he is one of my favourite singer/songwriters. He played a (too) short set, but it was wonderful, just as I hoped it be. Favourite Frank/Will fangirl moment from that part of the night? When Will told us that Frank had asked him to play “With Love From Halcyon”. Because it’s probably my favourite Will song ever (or at the moment anyway) and it was a) cool to know to Frank shared my love for this song and b) I thus had the chance to hear it live once more. Thank you, Frank :-) Will also played “We Don’t Believe You”, which is also one of my favourites of his and especially in these times such an important message! When I heard that song for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015 – which also was the first time I heard anything of Will – I was hooked right away, because it is such a powerful one and I knew that this guy was something  special.  Not sure I have thanked Frank for introducing me to Will’s music at any point since then. But I sure hope so…

As I’m not the biggest fan of Skinny Lister – there, I said it – I used their slot to finally buy some stuff at the merch desk. Unfortunately quite a lot of the items were sold out already or not available anymore in the size I needed, but I bought a shirt, the hoodie and the awesome Oystercard holder and just hope that some of the shirts will still be available at other shows later on. Most of them weren’t festival specific, but general Frank Turner shirts, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I didn’t spend the rest of the in the front rows for a change, but back next to the sound desk. Which was fun as well, because I was there with friends, who are huge Frank fans as well and that made staying out of the fray of the front rows more than ok. There are several reasons I usually try to get to the front row these past two years; one being that I can be sure that the people around me are as crazy about Frank as I am and are singing and dancing along just like I do. At the first few Frank shows I went to, I sometimes ended up somewhere in the middle of the room, not always surrounded my like-minded crazy folks, so I sometimes felt out of place and didn’t feel comfortable “going all out”. The last night at the Roundhouse was nothing like that thanks to my friends Amanda, Emily and Amy!

“Rivers” was a live premiere for me that night, but the highlight of this evening and actually one of the highlights of the whole weekend was to hear “Journey of the Magi” once more. I have heard it live before a few times, but similar to my newly gained appreciation for “Wherefore Art Thou….” I had only some time ago realized what a astoundingly beautiful song “Magi” is. I had plans to write a whole blog post about it and I haven’t given up on that yet, I just haven’t found the right words so far. Anyway, it was such a thrill to hear that song live once again, because it’s just so perfect! *sigh* What a treat to end the amazing Lost Evenings festival on that note. For me personally anyway and I really hope I’ll be able to take part in the Lost Evenings 2018, if this will really happen next year.

Here now are my pictures (again), click to enlarge, as usual…

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