The line-up of Friday night’s Frank Turner show was something I couldn’t have even created in my wildest dreams. With a new favorite band, a band that has taken over my daily playlist, an old favorite, and my all time favorite band, to say I was anxious and excited throughout the day would be an understatement. Being at my day job was pointless. I couldn’t focus and honestly didn’t care. All I cared about was the amazing experience I was about to have.
Kicking the night off was a new favorite of mine- The Homeless Gospel Choir. First, there is no choir, there is only Derek Zanetti and his guitar. Second, every song is a protest song to Derek. Third, this guy deserves your utmost attention. I saw THGC a couple of months ago at The 7th Street Entry and absolutely fell in love. Seeing him perform last night reminded me why. His all too honest songs about mental health, friends with terrible taste in music, politics and everything in-between were performed with such an undeniable sense of passion and conviction that even the people behind me who were having the loudest conversation I had ever heard prior to his set, shut the hell up to make sure they wouldn’t miss a single word. Introducing every song as a protest song along with quick little stories between some of the songs added a very personable vibe to Derek and this project. Although playing at a much larger venue than the Entry, there was still this feeling of community and closeness that I fell in love with the first time I saw him. Naturally, I dragged a good friend to this show and her face during the opening set said it all. She was entertained and falling in love just like I did the first time I saw THGC and to see her face throughout the set gave me the best feeling in the world. I’ve dragged her to some questionable shows in the past but I knew within this opening set that I had nailed it.
Pennsylvania based The Menzingers were up next. This is a band that has completely taken over my daily playlist. It doesn’t matter what my mood is, The Menzingers have a song to match it or to get me out of a funk. Their playful aura and endless energy reined supreme throughout their short opening set last night. They did a great job playing both old and new songs and, although they didn’t play my current favorite ‘Your Wild Years’, it was song after song of anthemic sing-a-longs for me and a good portion of the nearly sold out audience. The four piece powered through their all to short set with a sense of command that definitely gained them some new fans. I’ve seen the Menzingers at festivals, I’ve seen them headline and seen them open. One of the things I love the most about this four-piece is the fact that it doesn’t matter what show they are playing or what slot, they always give the audience everything they have and the amount of passion that radiates from the stage as they play is impossible to ignore.
Lucero was next. What do I even need to say about these guys? If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve driven countless miles just to see these guys. I never miss their shows or when singer Ben Nichols does solo shows. Lucero has saved my life more times than I count and, even though people don’t always believe me since they could be considered country, they are my number one band of all time and probably always will be. Lucero treated the audience to a play through of their upcoming release due out on August 3rd (which is my birthday and the day I will be seeing them play at Red Rocks– no big deal but I AM FREAKING OUT!). Although I was bummed I wouldn’t be able to bawl along to the songs that saved me in my darkest hours, hearing these new songs made me happy. I recognized some of the songs as songs that Ben had played at his solo show at The Turf Club but hearing them with the band changed everything. I could go on and on about this band, about Ben’s voice, about keyboardist Rick Steff who I absolutely idolize but, like usual, when I start fan girling over a band, you don’t care. Lucero is one of those bands that means absolutely everything to me but may mean nothing to you and there are no words that I can write that will help you understand what last night’s set meant to me.
Headlining the already amazing night of music was the one and only Frank Turner. This English singer-songwriter is truly an inspiration and a beautiful person inside and out. Although a complete rockstar who can easily sell out arenas across the globe, Frank comes off as a very normal and down to earth kind of guy. His lyrics match that. Much like the previous bands of the night, Frank’s lyrics seem to focus on mental health and just being okay with being whatever it is you want to do. There’s a connection between him and his fans that’s truly beautiful. Call it a cult following, call it obsession, whatever you want to call it- there’s beauty behind the way the fans seemed to be absolutely loosing their minds as they screamed along to the lyrics that probably meant absolutely everything to them. Not going to lie, I found myself joining in on the hysteria as I screamed along to ‘Recovery’, ‘The Next Storm’, and many other songs.
Frank and his backing band called ‘The Sleeping Souls’ powered through an extensive set that had to have been nearly thirty songs long. With seven albums, a number of splits, singles and other releases, Frank did a great job of picking songs that went together. He showed all sides of himself from the more upbeat almost punk songs to the sensitive slow jams that you listen to on a lonely winter night. A set like his can creates so many different emotions for so many different people and that just added to the already beautiful music that was booming through the speakers. Did he play all of the songs I wanted him to? Of course not but what he played was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him, his band, or the crowd.
Some shows leave you speechless. Last night was one of those shows.