This past Saturday, the UK’s Frank Turner made a stop at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio on his Lost Evenings U.S. & Canada Winter Tour. “Winter” being ironic, considering it was a beautiful 65 degree day in The Queen City.
As self-proclaimed liberal country singer, Turner has a style that is difficult to identify. However, most fans would agree on the term “folk-punk.” The amount of energy and passion the musician exudes while on stage is evident through his white, sweat-soaked, button down shirt which, luckily for us, reveals his heavily tattooed body.
It also shines through the raw, emotional lyricism of his punk ballads. It’s hard not to appreciate the musical outcome of the strong beliefs that underlie content of his art. The vibe is infectious and spreads like wildfire through the crowd. Turner has a gift of unifying ardent guitar riffing with arena-finished choruses.
“Can’t I just spend the next four years at a punk show?”
Turner opened his headlining set with the somber tune “The Sand in the Gears,” which had just premiered that morning as a live recording from a Silver Springs, MD show.
The song is laden with metaphors referring to societal movements that protest the infringement of civil rights. The acoustic performance set the precedent for the rest of the evening.
It’s in the nature of Frank Turner shows to get a little rowdy, which resulted in my boyfriend and I being separated for a good portion of the concert. We didn’t get to enjoy some of our favorite songs together like “Losing Days,” “Long Live the Queen” and “The Ballad of Me and My Friends,” which are arguably the lifeblood of our relationship.
We finally found each other at the beginning of “If Ever I Stray” at a bar all the way at the back of the venue.
After getting over the initial distress of not being able to find each other for so long, I, with a bruised spine, and he with a split lip, went hand in hand back into the chaos. We made our way to the front row by the end of the song, just in time to share the closing line “If you’ve got my back I’ll go on, if you’ve got my back I’ll go on” to each other with the exchange of a sweet smile.
The show went on for about six more songs after that featuring some of the more recognizable.
The two-hour drive with my boyfriend from Columbus to Cincinnati was spent blasting Frank Turner and speculating which songs he might perform.
While we didn’t get to hear everything we wanted, the one song we agreed we definitely needed to hear live was “Love, Ire and Song” so you can imagine our elation when he started plucking the beginning chords to the revolutionary folk-rock anthem. I’m just happy we found our way back to each other before it happened.