From Across the Pond, Frank Turner Brings His Frank Righteousness to Texas THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: FRANK TURNER @ AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER | SXSW 3/15/18
AUSTIN, TX- For most of our SXSW artist coverage, we’ll keep it relatively short and sweet. We have over 80 artists to cover, so cut us some slack! 😉 We’ll basically be formatting each post into two parts: (1) Why our contributor wanted to see this act and (2) what our contributor thought of the performance”. Easy peasy. If you want to learn more about the act, make sure you click through to their social media links to get in the know. You won’t be disappointed!
Why I Wanted To See Frank Turner: Frank Turner was one of those artists whose name was featured everywhere leading up to SXSW. He was scheduled to play in a few showcases throughout the week so luckily I was able to catch him at the Radio Day Stage on day four of the festival. I only briefly listened to his music going into the set because I genuinely wanted to learn about him as an artist by seeing him live on stage. And apparently so did a lot of other people, as the convention hall filled up pretty quickly in time for his set, garnering the largest crowd by far of any other artist I saw perform at the Day Stage Showcase that week.
What I Thought Of Frank Turner’s Performance: Turner showed up to the stage by himself with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone. He was the only act of the week to not have any accompaniment whatsoever, and I think that made the performance that more special. It was just him exhibiting raw musical talent. Turner performed a stripped down version of each song that included singles from previous and future (at the time) albums. It seemed like he was having a lot of fun up there with his guitar and the audience loved it, including myself.
I think my favorite part from his set apart from the music itself, was the crowd engagement. He talked often in between songs, giving some background and explanations for what he was about to play, and actually got the audience to participate in a sing-along which I didn’t see at all that week in that particular venue. The biggest reaction elicited from the crowd however, was when he played a song called “Make America Great Again.” He turned the infamous slogan into a Resistance rallying cry with lines like “Let’s make America great again/by making racists ashamed again.”
He prefaced the song by acknowledging that he’s in Texas and there are people of varying opinions about the current world in the audience, but that the song was really just meant to express how he feels about this country that he loves and wishes all the best for it. For a British artist to express some kind of political opinion in the state of Texas I thought was really brave, yet I think it went over well with everyone at the concert.
Frank Turner released the aforementioned album Be More Kind in the beginning of May and is now touring the US and Europe. I suggest you go check out this Brit when he comes to a city near you.