It was only appropriate that they’re touring their new album called Be More Kind, as the British singer-songwriter spent much of the night emphasizing the importance of looking out for one and other and the greatness of community. He kicked off the set with the title track of the new album, followed by another new song “1933.” If fans were nervous that the show would only be new material, they quickly had that fear quashed as the band launched into “Get Better” and “Recovery.” While they did play several more songs off of Be More Kind, they also explored the rest of his catalogue playing “The Way I Tend to Be,” “Vital Signs,” “Wessex Boy,” and the awesome “The Ballad of Me and My Friends.”
Turner knows how to put on a show and truly deliver for the crowd. I mean, he should by now given that this was his 2242nd show. He did his usual speech about how punk shows have no rules except two, don’t be an asshole and if you know the words you have to sing a long.
He also specifically took the time to dedicate “The Next Storm” to the victims of the recent tornadoes, which has the perfect inspirational lines for the situation: “Rejoice, rebuild, the storm has passed… I don’t want spend the whole of my life indoors, laying low, waiting on the next storm.”
He isn’t just about words kind words though, he is also about putting on a damn good show with his actions. Not only was he sweating through his shirt almost instantly due to all his running and jumping around, most of which with a guitar strapped to his chest, he also took the time to go down to the crowd for some sing a longs and encouraged fans to start a circle pit at one point. All of this culminated in the encore when the band played “Four Simple Words” and Turner left his guitar behind to go stand on the crowd and then crowd surf his way to the “best dancer in Ottawa.” Once there he slow danced with, then moshed with fans while singing only to once again be crowd surfed back to the stage when the music picked back up.
Whether you love Be More Kind and Frank Turner’s current musical direction or not, it is impossible not to be blown away and have a blast at the live performance.
Sam Coffey and his band of merry men known as the Iron Lungs have come a long way from when I saw them a few years back at House of TARG, where Sam puked off the front of the stage after rolling around in the crowd too much. They are a pretty professional looking band now, still all rocking their matching jean jackets, although this time around the front man opted out of the uniform and sported something that can only be described as a cross between a luchador outfit and Liberace. They also deliver so many cliche rock n’ roll moves, but they come off more as satirical and lighthearted, which makes them a lot of fun.
Since signing on with Dine Alone Records their tunes can be heard all over the radio, much to my delight and obviously much of the crowd. It is not every show where you see so many people signing along and bopping up and down to the opener. To top everything off, they treated us to their now signature dueling guitar solos on a double neck guitar. Even after seeing it done several times, and not really being a fan of guitar solos, I still find it super cool.
Check out the great photos below of all three bands, thanks to the great work of our photographer Aidan Thatcher.