If there are only two certainties in life, it’s that St Patrick’s Day is always an excuse for a boozy night out, and that Frank Turner will always put on a great live show. Combine the two, and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect evening.
After Crazy Arm got the night off to an unexpected, exceptionally loud start, it was Chuck Ragan who really impressed. Whilst he may be better known as the frontman of Hot Water Music, his solo alt country material provided a superb warm up choice. Showcasing material from both his albums; including ‘The Boat’ and ‘Geraldine’ from debut ‘Feast or Famine’, and ‘Rotterdam’ from latest effort ‘Gold Country’, the singer’s unique grizzly vocals were remarkably as strong live as on record.
However, whilst Ragan entertained musically, his stripped-back set struggled to hold the spirited audience’s full attention – with much chatter going on throughout the set. Fortunately that’s not a problem by the time Frank Turner arrives on stage – launching into opener ‘Photosynthesis’ to a rapture of applause. From then, Turner’s vast experience, both as frontman of Million Dead, and as a solo artist shows, choosing a set that appeals to everyone and oozing onstage charisma. There’s a generous helping of material from his past, including the always superb ‘Father’s Day’ and ‘The Real Damage’, alongside material from his latest effort ‘Poetry of the Deed’. Although only personal opinion will dictate whether or not the likes of ‘Try This At Home’ and ‘Sons of Liberty’ equal the now classic ‘Long Live The Queen’ and ‘The Ballad Of Me and My Friends’, there’s no denying Turner’s got a wealth of quality material, both old and new.
After welcoming Ragan back onstage for an encore of ‘Revival Road’ – a song they penned together on tour in the States, Turner also thanks Manchester as he reveals this is his biggest headline show to date. Bringing the night to a close with ‘The Road’, he can leave assured that an even bigger and brighter future lies ahead of him.