Two years in the making, the time was nigh for Frank Turner and his band of merry Sleeping Souls to grace the boards at O2 Academy Brixton – easily the largest venue on his never ending tour. After being forced to postpone their tour multiple times due to COVID-19, they were finally able to commence their UK tour. With support from Pet Needs, Truckstop Honeymoon, and for the one night in Brixton, Snuff, who Frank described as an inspiration to him after his first time seeing them in 1997.
Touring on the back of their number 1 album FTHC we saw the band at full hilt, playing some of their greatest hits and songs from the new album. Opening the show with Four Simple Words, a fan favourite, it set the tone for the evening. This was followed by The Gathering, a song off of the new album, which was written for this moment during the pandemic – welcoming back rock shows with open arms. The first big crowd participation of the night came from the new song Miranda, where the crowd screamed along to the guitar melody. Further uniting the crowd with tracks like Be More Kind, the acoustic portion of the set allowed the audience to catch their breath before launching into the breakthrough track The Way I Tend To Be.
Newbie to the Sleeping Soul fold, drummer Callum Green was a Brixton Academy virgin and what a way to pop his cherry with a 25 song set in front of a near sell out crowd. As the band walked back onto stage for the encore the place was shaking from its rafters. The band launched into hit Recovery and there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t screaming the words back at the band. As the set drew to a close, a crowd emergency meant that Try this at home was restarted, once all the clear was given. The final song of the night was, I Still believe, a regular in Frank’s closing set repertoire. Frank’s wife Jess even came onto the stage for the harmonica solo. Frank’s last remarks to the crowd were how lucky he is to be doing this and how he has missed it when the pandemic took it away from everyone.
If you’ve seen Frank before this was a very atypical set full of hits and full of new track bangers. When I say atypical I don’t mean that negatively, what you see is what you get with Frank Turner, singalong hits, swooning ballads and celebrating all things that are good and bad with the world, and his fans can’t get enough.