Written and Photographed by Regan Harvey
Monday night at the Royale was Frank Turner’s last show of six at the venue. For much of the audience, it wasn’t the first time during the week they found themselves at the intimate club.
Trapper Schoepp kicked off the night with tracks off his theme park inspired concept album, Bay Beach Amusement Park. The Wisconsin native was a one-man band with his imaginative lyrics, red guitar, and harmonica on a neck harness.
Next up was a punk rock group from Brooklyn -- Kevin Devine and The Goddamn Band. The band boosted the energy with their electric, fast tempo jams. They borrowed guitar riffs from classic rock songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Hey Jude” to supplement their original music and get the crowd amped for the main event.
Finally, with a huge commotion from the crowd, Frank Turner took the stage.
The singer-songwriter sat at his piano and gave a heartfelt solo rendition of the last song from his second album, “Jet Lag.” As the tender tune came to an end, Turner’s touring group, The Sleeping Souls, joined the singer on stage. Together, the five-piece band made their way through the entire 2009 album, Love Ire & Song. This was for the first time since they toured the album in England nearly ten years ago. For some songs, they were joined by two young women playing the fiddle and cello. They were a crowd favorite.
Before each track, Turner would explain the meaning behind it. Kind of like a live commentary album.
Sometimes the narration would just be an entertaining story such as getting food poisoning during a live performance of “A Love Worth Keeping,” or being dumped by his Parisian girlfriend after writing her the song “To Take You Home.”
There was a real closeness between Turner and his audience that evening.
Often, the audience lights would go up for the band could see the crowd. Those returning for a sixth night in a row had been through a lot with the musicians and the connection was apparent.
The atmosphere was that of a small town English pub. Guests were swaying and shouting along to Turner’s lyrics, feeling every word, their drinks held high above their heads. Turner even disclosed to the crowd that he felt Boston was his second home.
Before leaving the stage that night, Turner treated the audience to a cover of one of his biggest inspirations, Bruce Springsteen. He joked that in England he used to pretend he came up with the track, “Thunder Road,” himself.
When the band exited into the wings, the cheering from the crowd only grew louder.
Not one to disappoint, Turner returned to the stage with six more songs. He performed some of his biggest hits from throughout the years such as “Recovery” and “Try This at Home.”
After teasing a benefit show planned the next day, Turner asked the crowd to leave with the following sentiment. He then ended the night on the title track of his May release, “Be More Kind.” The crowd joined in on the chorus, sincerely singing “be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind.”