Home / Opinion / Event Reviews / Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls First Direct Arena, Leeds Sunday 27 January 2019

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls First Direct Arena, Leeds Sunday 27 January 2019

Frank Turner by Alex English

Jimmy Eat World and Grace Petrie join Frank Turner’s Be More Kind Tour at First Direct Arena Leeds

Grace Petrie is a mighty fine folk singer from Leicester, she has written eight albums to date and tonight she feels very privileged to be asked to be part of Frank Turner’s Be More Kind Tour.  As a left-wing protest singer, who’s also an activist for LGBTQ, Grace explains to her arena audience that most of her songs are not very jolly in context except for Ivy which she wrote about the pending birth of her niece whilst at Glastonbury festival, which also happened to be the year Dolly Parton was performing. Playing a part melody of Dolly’s 9 to 5 on guitar with her own lyrics thrown into the mix the perky Ivy entertains the almost full arena crowd.

Petrie reminds me of Bruce Springsteen with her storytelling and harmonica playing on Build a wall.  Expressing her feelings on the clever Black Tie, she certainly captivates the audience with her forthrightness.  And on the sweary Inspector Morse she has them join her witty repertoire as they chat back the lyrics ”be strong, be resilient” ”be young, be fucking brilliant” And brilliant she is!   Grace is very humble as she thanks her audience and Frank Turner for the opportunity to play one of the biggest gigs of her life so far, unless she bags that pyramid stage at Glastonbury, she plays out with the upbeat foot stomping Northbound.

Setlist https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/grace-petrie/2019/first-direct-arena-leeds-england-5b958ba8.html

Grace Petrie Info http://gracepetrie.com/

Grace Petrie by Alex English


Jimmy Eat World the (emo) alt-rockers from Arizona are the main support for Frank Turner. They became notably famous for their song The Middle back in 2001 and have since maintained a following which makes them and their music still popular today. Tonight isn’t a greatest hits show but they do cover the majority of songs from two of the main albums in their 11 song set.

Opening with Pain, from Futures album Jimmy Eat World, enter the arena in a mass of dark red light and the fog machine seems to be on overdrive. With some extra bright light thrown into the mix, it’s not the greatest environment to be taking pictures to illustrate your review but it does make for a great atmosphere for the song.

Singer Jim Adkins is on good form and if you’ve had the chance to see Jimmy Eat World in their heyday, they come across just as good now.  Going back to before they had number one hits, with the electro-pop-rock number Lucky Denver Mint was the request of one lucky fan to be played tonight.  Easing down with Big Casino, Jim announces Hear you me is a song to take your shirt off to, as he takes up his acoustic guitar, the touring keyboardist joins along and the appreciative crowd sing in on the chorus.

Playing the last four songs of the evening from Bleed American album, Jim asks the crowd if they came out to fall in love tonight?  As they launch into to the catchy A Praise Chorus.  Their fans definitely came out to rock out, as they shake things up in the pit as soon as they hear the strumming intro of Bleed American.  Saving the best until last The Middle has to be one of the most memorable songs written and the enthusiasm from the throng of eager fans speaks for itself. As Jim & co say farewell and thanks to the now sweaty mob. You can’t help but want to hear a few more songs but there’s no time for any more as Frank Turner will be gracing the stage very shortly.

Setlist https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/jimmy-eat-world/2019/first-direct-arena-leeds-england-73958e2d.html

Band Info http://www.jimmyeatworld.com/


Jim Adkins by Alex English


Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls. 

Frank is an accomplished singer/songwriter and draws in a multitude of fans from different genres be it from the old days of his post-hardcore band Million Dead, or side projects like punk rock band Möngöl Hörde.  There is an appeal to Frank Turner, he’s a clever wordsmith and has a knack of creating meaningful lyrics for the masses, be them political, personal or just observational.  Writing is his vex and he uses it well.

This is the first time Frank Turner and his band has headlined First Direct Arena in Leeds and they don’t mess about as they take to its stage in a flash of blinding lights. Frank blasts out the opening bars of folky punk rock number Out of Breath, whilst Tarrant Anderson dazzled, as he threw his bass in to some awesome shapes, along with guitarist Ben Lloyd who looked like he was playing a game of chase as whizzed from one side of the stage to the other, intermingling with Frank along the way!

‘’Now I’ll play and you’ll sing’’ are very apt words from the next number Photosynthesis as the now full arena crowd are already singing along in unison. If you’ve not experienced an FT show before, Frank explains that he has two rules, one ‘don’t be, an arsehole and look out for each other’, and two, if you know the words to the songs sing along!  And sing along they do, even the pyrotechnics at the end of 1933 didn’t slow them down!

There’s no mystery to Frank, he’s a straightforward person who wears his heart on his sleeve, as he talks with the crowd about his Be More Kind tour and that he’s working on new material for a new album, he’s also just released a new EP and plays the chilled out and optimistic title track Don’t Worry.   

Giving thanks to the tour supporting acts. To Grace Petrie, Turner tells us that he likes to give people opportunities. Jesting, Turner says that’s why he’d like you to give Jimmy Eat World a chance ‘and go support them’ as he jovially interacts with his fans, he knew all too well the great anthem heroes would down well with tonight’s audience.

After seeing the cheeky playful side we get to see an emotional side of Frank, as he sets about his three-song solo set dedicating Long Live the Queen to a lost friend. Explaining he wrote There she is about his fiancée, yes folks, Frank has got engaged and he’s announced it to a whole arena, the crowd cheer for him as he smiles to himself.

Returning to the stage The Sleeping Souls kick the atmosphere back to the stratosphere with favourite The Next Storm, tonight the choir is the audience as they ‘rejoice’, and sing back the anthemic lyric ‘Rejoice’. Reminding us we’re all human beings and no one seems to be listening to what they are hearing these days.  Frank encourages everyone to remember this the next time you disagree with someone and to make little changes.  Asking everyone to get their phones out, the whole arena is lit by the torchlight and it makes for a wondrous sight, to which Frank beholds.

Encoring with four songs including Get Better, Frank and co end with the punk rocking Four Simple Words but not before enticing the fans to make a circle in to which Frank clambers over the heads of the crowd to reach; this song is about dancing and as Frank finds one lucky fan to be his dance partner,  everyone around him is dancing along to this ‘hi-ho’ ditty.  Crowd surfing back to the stage whilst singing, there follows an explosion of pink confetti that fills the arena floor and a final blast of pyrotechnic flames brings this awesome performance to a close and that was show number 2304 as Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls say farewell and goodnight.

Setlist https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/frank-turner/2019/first-direct-arena-leeds-england-5b958fec.html

Frank Tuner band Info https://frank-turner.com/

Frank Turner by Alex English

About Alex English

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