LIVE REVIEW: Frank Turner @ O2 Academy (22.4.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On the cusp of releasing his seventh album there is an air of change surrounding Frank Turner, a poppier groove in his tracks and an upbeat optimism. The Homeless Gospel Choir’s tracks are infectious with enthusiasm as he launches into every song. Frantic guitar playing along with heartfelt sentiments are what you’d expect from a Turner support. Stripped back and raw these are anthems for a disgruntled generation with glimmers of hope.

The same cannot be said for Arkells who claim to have a message for the president of the United States. However, it’s lost in their overzealous guitars and lacklustre pop rock.

Frank Turner on the other hand bounds on to the stage in his usual jovial manner as he opens with new track 1933, which unfortunately fails to hit the spot.

A barrage of old tracks follows, driving punk folk anthems that have the entire crowd singing at the tops of their voices. Recovery, Glory Hallelujah and I Am Disappeared all following in quick succession passionate and fervent with a meaning that everyone can relate to. The newer tracks lack this angst, with the likes of Blackout feeling closer to lowest common denominator pop music.

Fortunately, the latter part of tonight’s set sees Turner back at full force with the frenetic Four Simple Words creating a huge circle pit and Photosynthesis inciting a typically riotous sing-along. There are times where Frank Turner is truly out of this world but his newer material is lacking any true enthusiasm.

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