In 2005, Frank Turner started an acoustic project after ending his time with the hardcore band Million Dead. Seven years on, Turner and his band that accompanies him, the Sleeping Souls, have become critically acclaimed by the likes of renowned people in the music industry such as Brett Gurewitz, guitarist for Bad Religion and founder of Epitaph Records. Last night at The Grog Shop, Turner and the Sleepless Souls showed that just because they played a sold-out show at Wembley Stadium earlier this year, that doesn’t mean they feel entitled to playing only large venues.
Turner’s stage presence was charming and energetic; he seemed just as eager to be at the show as everyone else was. Both Turner and the crowd of about 400 gave all of their enthusiasm. Turner was very interactive with the crowd, encouraging everyone to dance however they wanted- so long as they were dancing during “I Want To Dance.” And he got everyone in the venue to sing their hearts out to “Photosynthesis” at the very end of the night, with Turner even jumping into the crowd at the end of the song. Turner played a few new songs from his upcoming album, along with the classics that just about the whole crowd knew the words to.
Opener Jenny Owen Youngs came off as a sweet and polite singer/songwriter who’s a cross between Taylor Swift and the sex-crazed Chelsea Handler. Her simple act of an acoustic guitar and voice was a good way to warm up the crowd. After her performance, came Larry and His Flask, a sextet from Oregon with a plethora of instruments and an endless amount of exuberance; band members would go out into the crowd still playing their instruments, climbing on the support beams of the venue. The band’s ability to switch from one instrument to another in a pinch (such as the banjo player playing a trumpet within the same song) was also impressive to see.