Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls Union Hall, Edmonton AB, March 6
Published Mar 07, 2016Walking on to the sound of falling rain and kicking things off with the triumphant opening that is "The Next Storm," Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls were a whirlwind from the get-go. The British folk artist had seemingly endless energy as he bounced around the stage, with the Sleeping Souls doing their absolute best to keep up.
"Only two rules for my shows!" Turner yelled at one point. Number one, he said, was "don't be a dickhead." And number two" "If you know the words, sing along!" This was a request the crowd was clearly ready to oblige, given the mass sing-alongs that would start upon command, and sometimes with no command at all.
For over two hours, the band onstage played with the intensity of a world-class punk group, adding energy to a set drawing from Turner's new record, Positive Songs for Negative People, but also leaning on cuts from England Keep My Bones, Tape Deck Heart and Love Ire & Song. A few surprises were thrown in for good measure — a scrappy Ace of Spades cover, fan favourite "Least of All Young Caroline," a traditional rendition of "Barbara Allen" done entirely a cappella.
It was equal parts raucous and jovial. Credit goes to Turner, who's capable of selling the conviction and earnestness found in his songwriting, an everyman who wants to whip up an audience into a frenzy, making his shows something of a communal experience. As the crowd roared as one to the closing coda of "Four Simple Words," it was very clear that he had managed to achieve what he set out to do, enabling everyone to lose their inhibitions and their minds, having a great time in the process.