Frank Turner Gave The Fillmore A Religious Experience


I needed Tuesday night’s show more than I think I knew I did. Shows save me. I’ve talked about this before. Music, in general, has been a saving grace for me since my angsty teenage years but I feel like seeing live music is truly what has kept me going day after day regardless of how rough said day(s) get. That is why being able to see Frank Turner on Tuesday night at The Fillmore in Minneapolis meant everything to me. It was a rough day. No, that’s an understatement. It was a day spent questioning all of the choices I have made over the past few months as far as self-employment and just life choices in general. I needed Frank’s voice, his words, and he and his band’s energy to help remind me that I am doing it right because I am chasing my dreams. Yeah, I was a bit of a mess on Tuesday night and, sure, I had a minor breakdown during the set that left me literally choking back tears but that’s what live music has been about for me since day one and I think just having that truly religious and emotional experience was what I needed.

Kicking the night off was UK-based PET NEEDS. I was told by a good friend and fellow music lover that this band has been buzzing and it would be a mistake to show up late. Although I try to never be late in arriving at a show, it was hard to get there on time on Tuesday with the early show time and the want to just decompress from the day a bit more before having to go out in public. Thankfully, my friend and I somehow pulled it off and got inside just as this band was starting their set, and to say it was worth it would be an understatement. With energy reminiscent of Blindside and a sound that was both full of nostalgia yet felt fresh, I was instantly sold on this band and wanted so much more than the thirty-minute set they gave me.

Following PET NEEDS was a personal favorite of mine, The Bronx. Although I was a bit put off by the fact that they were calling this their first “real tour” post-pandemic even though I had the honor of seeing them open for the almighty Rancid and Dropkick Murphy’s last year, The Bronx’s set was flawless as it always is. From the record-quality sound to vocalist Matt Caughthran’s time spent in the middle of the audience towards the end of the set, The Bronx’s energy was non-stop and, although very different from that of the headliner, really got the crowd warmed up for the rest of the night. This is one of the many things that I will always give Frank Turner credit for. Although he has this almost singer-songwriter vibe about him, he is not scared to have heavier bands open for him and it made for a truly dynamic night on Tuesday.

Where do I begin with Frank Turner? Sure, he may not be a household name or be on the radio but, in the scene, he is God. What scene is that? Well, that’s a good question. I mentioned that he has an almost singer-songwriter vibe but he is so much more than that. He has a punk edge to his words and his band The Sleeping Souls is full of top-notch musicians that bring a full band sound to the table that truly can not be matched. Clearly, I’m biased about Frank and his music as it has kept me going through some tough times but, beyond that bias is the true talent that this man has, and seeing it on stage as part of Frank’s 2,662nd show made for a perfect Tuesday evening.

I don’t remember all of the songs the band played but know that I heard some of my favorites along with some new ones. Regardless of what song was being played, there was a sense of community and comfort throughout the room. Sure, I talk about community in a lot of these posts because I truly believe that music brings people together but the comfort thing is something that I don’t get to experience all the time and is something that is truly special to Frank Turner performances. That comfort came into full view for me as I spent a song or two of his set having a complete mental breakdown while trying to choke back the tears. Although a bit embarrassed by the outpouring of emotion that I just couldn’t hide on my face due to me trying to be this tough girl (those who actually know me know that I am really not that tough), I felt comfortable in feeling whatever I was feeling throughout the set. This may not make any sense to you and that’s fair but if you were at the show on Tuesday or have ever seen Frank live, I think you will understand exactly what I am trying to say.

Although my night took an emotional turn, other people’s nights had a much more party vibe about them. That’s one of the many things I love about seeing Frank Turner. His music speaks to everyone but says something different to everyone and that is put in the spotlight during his live sets. From people like me having a slight breakdown to the people in the front getting sweaty and pushing and shoving their way through the set, to those with the courage to crowd surf, much like his music and the wide array of styles he performs, you get a wide array of responses from the crowd.

A buddy of mine put it perfectly after the show and although I just saw Frank last September at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas, these words reign true, “Seeing Frank Turner after a few years of not seeing him felt like what I would imagine going to church feels like for people who believe in that stuff…”. I know it sounds dramatic but Tuesday night was like a religious experience and it was exactly what I needed.