Barrowlands. Undoubtedly the greatest venue in Scotland, arguably the world,it’s hosted so many acts, ranging from The Smiths to the Foo Fighters, that just adjacent to the venue is a pathway listing all the bands who have came to Glasgow to play here. It’s a career defining venue with many home grown acts like Biffy Clyro playing some of the most intimate gigs of their lives there last December and their mark can still be felt there, in no small part to the stairs that proudly wear the band’s lyrics.
That alone would make most acts feel nervous about not being able to put on a show comparable to what the venue is used to. It’s not enough to have some good tunes or have a big fanbase. You have to make the stage your own, show why you deserve to be on the same platform that so many legendary artists have been on before you.
Welcome to the stage, Mr Frank Turner, hailing from Hampshire with more than a decade’s worth of musical experience under his belt. He’s managed to be part of a fairly successful band, London post-hardcore band Million Dead, and well after their break up, he’s still going from arena to arena all over the world with a solo career that most folk would do anything to have.
In fact, Turner himself told a story about a flag that’s been passed around every venue he’s been on tour at. It’s no reproduced item either, instead it’s passed on by fans who unite with one another over the music, something that the 33 year old has always voiced out with his first of two gig rules: be nice to one another.
The second rule? “If you know the words then fucking sing along” Turner shouted before belting out fan favourite track Peggy Sang The Blues which resulted in a crowd sing-along, one of many last night with people both young and old getting lost in the music. This was no doubt the reason that the smile on Turner’s face never faded for the whole night, a man who repeatedly says how he wants a little more love and a little less hate.
That’s exactly the sentiment that could be felt in the Barrowlands last night. Even when the crowd were frantically moving about to Get Better and many were getting smooshed by the thousands in the Ballroom that night, something that can be expected at any gig. However, people were helping one another out who were getting crushed, passing water with no hesitation, behaviour that sounds normal but, in my experience anyway, isn’t seen nearly as often as it should be.
Turner put on the show of a lifetime, showcasing tracks off his new album Positive Songs For Negative People as well as golden oldies. Many acts will tell you that they love Glasgow but Turner managed to get this across without explicitly saying it. The stories he told were entertaining and insightful, the chemistry he had for his backing band The Sleeping Souls and, most importantly, the appreciation he had for every single fan that has supported him over his career. Everyone there left drenched in sweat and aching from the 30 song long setlist but they came out knowing they’ve witnessed an artist who is in a league of his own.
Big Love, Liam x