Turner Tours Toronto

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The Spectrum

In an age where auto-tune and synthesizers rule the airwaves, one tour refused to conform to the mainstream's standards.

Frank Turner and his band, The Sleeping Souls, stopped at Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto Friday night to play in front of his biggest crowd outside of the U.K.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls had the audience giddy with excitement. While he has yet to break into the mainstream, his brand of folk-punk has been well received among the punk community, opening for bands such as Social Distortion, The Offspring, and The Gaslight Anthem.

As Turner took to the stage, the sold out crowd pushed forward. When he played the first chords to "Eulogy," the opening track off his new album England Keep My Bones, to begin the set the audience sang back in perfect accord.

Turner has four critically acclaimed albums to date and Friday night he had an excellent mixture of old and new songs. On every one of his albums, Turner sings some of the most inspiring lyrics in music today.

As he and his band raced through the 21-song set list, it was apparent why Turner is one of the biggest musical acts in the U.K. His stage presence was engaging and comical.

During the set he showed that he isn't just a musician – he also has a good sense of humor.

At one point, Turner asked the crowd to "help him out" by playing air harmonicas. Those that were "too hipster" to join in, said Turner, were at the wrong show.

As Turner sang his uplifting lyrics, it was evident how much his own songs meant to him, and as the crowd lost its voice screaming back, it was clear how nearly every member of the audience took his words to heart.

What makes Turner's stage show so pristine is the love he clearly has for both his music and his fans. When he is on stage, anyone can see that there is nowhere else he would rather be.

Every member of The Sleeping Souls was spectacular, but the one that stood out the most was bassist Tarrant Anderson. He had a mastery of his instrument. He was dancing on stage while he slapped some funky bass lines.

The direct support, Andrew Jackson Jihad, was the perfect opener. Consisting of just two members, they were the definition of folk-punk. Main singer Sean Bonnette rocked out on acoustic guitar while Ben Gallaty played the stand-up bass.

As the band performed their brutally honest songs, their contempt for modern society was noticeable. In their first show in Toronto ever, the crowd made sure to give them a warm welcome to the great white north.

The first opener was Into It. Over It. This one-man act did the best he could to warm up the crowd. Before almost every song, he gave a quick humorous explanation of the song, providing insight to his music.

Over 1,000 lucky people got to witness one of the best-arranged tours of the year and one of the biggest up-and-coming names in punk from across the Atlantic.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com