It’s a known fact: If you speed, you risk a good chance of getting caught. I can tell you this first hand seeing how I was speeding down I-71 Wednesday evening on my way to see Frank Turner in Columbus. I was just outside of the state capitol cruising at about 80 m.p.h. not paying attention at all when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a state trooper shooting my car with his laser gun. We made eye contact immediately after, and I knew I was screwed.
In a flash, the trooper was tailing my car down I-71 and the moment I switched lanes thinking that maybe, just maybe he would pull the guy over in front of me, he switched lanes again and turned his lights on.
I knew I was speeding and was at fault, so I pulled over and waited for the trooper to approach my car and tell me what I already knew. I tried to tell the state trooper that I was just cruising along and not paying attention to my speed because of how excited I was to be seeing Frank Turner at a venue in Columbus. The trooper looked at me and asked who Frank Turner was. I wanted to tell him all about one of my favorite musicians and persuade him to let me off the hook, but just told him that he was a punk rocker folk artist from England. The trooper smiled at me and told me that he would be back in a moment with my ticket.
So, my trip to Columbus from Akron cost me an extra $130 and I have no one to blame but myself. Then again, if the trooper knew who Frank Turner was, maybe he would have shared his excitement with me and let me off. After bidding the trooper a farewell, I jumped back on to the highway and made it to the Outland on Liberty.
Having never been to this venue before, I was not sure what to expect at all. Hell, I had to ask a parking attendant where is was only to feel like a complete idiot when he pointed to the building directly across the street. To be fair, it was my first time to the brewery district.
Outside, the Outland did not really resemble a venue at all. Granted Turner’s tour bus was parked in front of it, I did not notice a sign for it nor did it look like your typical concert club. There was also a Eiffel Tower metal-looking structure in a patio area that towered over everyone that stood out. I was not sure what the significance was at all, perhaps a tribute. Walking inside though, I had a completely different impression of the concert venue. The place looked like what would happen if Austin Powers’ clubhouse turned into a goth club. Crosses adored the walls and there was a giant tiered stage full of lights. It was interesting and to be honest, I kind of dug it.
While asking myself if that stage was for real, I realized that there was in a completely different room that hosted the main stage. Once I made my way to the stage area, I felt a little better about seeing Turner and crew play a normal stage and not a plexi-glass tiered stage, although that might have been awesome.
There were two opening acts and I will not lie, I did not watch either of the openers as I was too preoccupied with catching up with some of my friends, new and old, who also were attending the show. I will say though that I did hear one of the guys singing a song about Touchdown Jesus. That is pretty bad ass if you ask me, but chances are if you are not from Ohio, you have no idea what that heck I am talking about.
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls (his full band) took the stage around 10 p.m. to the adoring crowd. Opening with “Eulogy” from the band’s latest release England Keep My Bones, Turner and crew put forth an amazing set. Playing songs, old and new, the crowd sung along at the top of their lungs with each song. It was not just a concert, it was a party, a gathering of friends all having a good time. Following was “Try This At Home” and I could not help but get lost in the song.
Turner and crew continued on playing tracks such as “I Am Disappeared” as well as his tribute to home “Wessex Song”. I liked how Turner told everyone that he could care less about songs about NYC and L.A. and wanted to pay tribute to where he grew up. When he asked the crowd if anyone had ever been to England, a few hands rose, and when he asked if anyone was from England, a girl screamed in excitement that she was. I am sure she appreciated that song more than anyone else that night.
Not just keeping to material the fans knew, Turner played a couple brand new including “Cowboy Chords” and “Four Simple Words”. The latter of the two was really fun to listen to. Before he sung it, Turner told the crowd that he hoped one day that the crowd would break into a choreographed dance when he played it. The crowd did their best to dance together, but it was no Broadway performance.
In between the new songs, Turner played “Dan’s Song” but let the crowd know that no one would be invited on stage to play the harmonica solo as he was afraid that there might be a few people who might get pissed that they were not chosen and punch him in the balls after the show. Instead, he invited the entire crown to play the “air harmonica”. Basically, everyone cupped their hands into an O shape and screamed whatever noise they wanted to in their hands. It was no harmonica solo, but it did the job.
Although one of his more popular songs, I was still psyched to hear the band break into “The Road” and later “I Still Believe”. I could not help but laugh though when they played “Glory Hallelujah”, knowing that it was Ash Wednesday.
To end the night, Turner set down his acoustic and took the mic belting out Queen’s “Somebody To Love” while the rest of the band rocked out. This cover was the perfect way to end the show.
It was kind of suiting that the set ended with a Queen song seeing how in the very first song played that night, Turner sang “not everyone can be Freddie Mercury”. Did anyone else catch that?
Throughout that impressive cover, everyone went insane and naturally wanted more, so it was no surprise to see Turner return to the stage moments after everyone exited.
To barter with the crowd, Turner promised two more songs during the encore and then added one more . Turner, sans the Sleeping Souls, played an awesome cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and a lot of people could not help but sing along. Following was the always fun “Ballad Of Me And My Friends.”
During the last song of the night, “Photosynthesis”, the rest of the band joined Turner on stage and played along.
Frank piped up just before the last chorus of the song and let the crowd know how he felt about rock n roll and said, “I’m always disappointed when rock n roll turns out to be a bunch of fucking dickheads with a tour bus and a raised piece of flooring who show up and make noise with a bunch of fucking hits and just turn around and go home. And no one talks to anyone anymore and no one fucking interacts and it’s boring and pointless and not the kind of shit we are supposed to be doing with our time.”
He continued with, “rock and roll is and always is, and punk rock especially, was about a run for the people who are equals and who are friends, who don’t have a fucking barrier who are doing something together and something communal, something transcending, something necessary…”
Needless to say, the entire venue went ballistic. His words may very well single handedly changed they way people look at rock n roll in Columbus.
He was not joking about what he said either. Once the band finished up, they all hung out with the crowd that stuck around. Turner actually took time to talk to each and every fan that approached him, allowed photographs, and even signed records, fliers, and even a 20-year-old polo shirt (that was odd if you ask me, but who am I to judge?). I think the greatest thing though, was that Turner was sincere with each interaction and wholeheartedly smiled and his fans, shook their hands, and even gave out hugs.
When I finally had a moment to chat with him, I thanked him for coming back to Ohio and could not help but tell him about my speeding ticket. He laughed and grabbed my record and signed it “Keep Speeding”. He also was quick to give me a hug after we finished talking and I accidentally head butted him. I was quick to apologize and he laughed and said “it’s ok, I feel as if we are now closer…”
Star struck? Not one bit. The guy is just like you and I. He is real and does not play out for the paycheck. He appreciates his fans as much as they appreciate him and that, to me, is beyond admirable.
Wednesday night was a good night in my book, well, not the speeding ticket part, but spending time with with some cool people and listening to one of my favorite acts out there definitely was.
Try This At Home
If I Ever Stray
I Am Disappeared
Lore, Ire and Song
Fastest Way Back Home
Four Simple Words
Peggy Sang The Blues
One Foot Before The Other
Long Live The Queen
I Still Believe
Somebody To Love (Queen Cover)
American Girl (Tom Petty Cover)
Ballad Of Me And My Friends