It was a sold out kind of night last night in Cleveland thanks to a couple of events that were going on. First there was the sold out Cleveland Cavaliers game going on at the Quicken Loans Arena. It was Sunggie night after all so you know everyone and their mother wanted to get a glorified Cavs robe and cheer on the hometown team. Apparently a new Guinness World Record was set for the most ridiculous looking people all in one place at one time. I’m sorry but being part of “largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets” is not something that I want to think about in Cleveland on a Friday night.
Luckily for me and many other folk there was something much better going on just around the corner at the House Of Blues sans the Snuggies. UK artist Frank Turner and some Celtic punk rock band called Flogging Molly were playing a sold out show and I was a part of it. There was Guinness there too, the kind that is best served in pint glasses.
With many shows I attend I usually focus on the headlining act. Where I am a fan of Flogging Molly and always will be, this night was all about me seeing Frank Turner live for the first time. I am pretty sure I am the only person who was more excited for the one time punk rocker turned folk rock musician over the Irish punkers.
Opening act The Architects from Kansas City, MO started off the night with a bang. Having never heard of them before they grabbed my attention with their straight forward rock n roll styles. The foursome had great stage presence and the crowd rewarded them with constant approval. I later learned that three of the members of the band used to be in the ska act The Gadjits. featuring the three Phillips brothers. After hearing the Architects’ set I never would have fathomed them being in a ska band prior. Great set by a great band I hope to hear more from in the future.
To say I was excited when Frank Turner and his nameless band took the stage would be an understatement. With smiles on all of the band member’s faces they broke into “The Road” which just sounded amazing live. I am sure it is safe to say not a lot of the people packed into the House Of Blues knew who Turner was but after just a couple songs in the crowd soon learned about the UK sensation who openly admitted that it was his first time in Cleveland as well as offered apologies if the set sucked at he was fighting a nasty cold.
Pointing to the crowd for a volunteer Turner chose a young fan to play harmonica on “Dan’s Song” knowing fully that the kid never played the harp in his life. With a quick lesson Turner played the song alone on acoustic guitar and gave the honorary band member of the night “the look” when it was time for him to play. Sure it did not sound like the recorded version or anything close to it but it was hilarious.
Armed with his acoustic guitar Turner continued the night along with his band playing like it was his most important show of his career. He proudly yelled “Hello, Cleveland” to the crowd and fought his illness through each song. It was apparent how ill he was feeling but he kept trucking along through the set that included “Poetry Of The Deed” as well as “Love, Ire, & Song” as well as “Back In The Day”.
From where I planted my feet the fans around me all seemed to enjoy Turner who let many in on a little secret telling them all that is was not actually a folk artist but a punk rocker who plays folk music. Closing the night out with “Photosynthesis” I could only hope for a headlining show the next time Turner and crew come back to Cleveland. They put on a great show and I am thrilled to be able to say I saw Turner live finally.
Without a doubt everyone was Irish for the night as Flogging Molly is notoriously known for spreading the Irish cheer around with their likable Celtic punk rock sing along jams. Once the seven-piece took the stage it was clear how many people were packed into the venue to see them. Fueled mainly on Jamison and Guinness the crowd showed no sign of calming down throughout the set. Entertaining as always, Dave King pranced around the stage with Nathan Maxwell slapping the bass and the rest of the crew just playing a solid strong set.
I stayed for about the first half of the set and will try and post Flogging Molly’s set list on here the moment I find it. Remember, I was there for Frank Turner, so once things started getting really crazy I packed up and headed towards the exit. I have nothing against Flogging Molly at all but I have seen them multiple times and really am used to the good times they exhume. Being a proud Irishman myself I know all too well what an evening of Irish music and stouts can do to my body so I chose to play it safe. I am pretty sure not many followed my idea and are still battling the Irish flu today.
Speaking of flu it was reported by Frank Turner himself on Twitter that he had to pull from the Detroit show tonight so I am even more pleased I was able to see him last night.
Here is his Tweet he posted:
@fthc – MotherF***ER. Very sad to say I’ve got to pull tonight’s show in Detroit. Sick as a dog, no voice. A thousand apologies.
Get well soon Frank Turner and thank you for fighting through your amazing set last night in Cleveland. It was a highlight to my year.
Frank Turner Set:
Try This At Home
Reasons Not To Be An Idiot
Sons Of Liberty
Poetry Of The Deed
Love, Ire, & Song
Back In The Day
(I may have missed a song or entered the wrong one. Corrections always welcomed.)