DENVER — Frank Turner is an ultra runner. No not really, he’s a rock and roller from the days of punk, but his performance deserves the analogy. Some runners run marathons in a sprint, it seems their legs never get tired. Some songwriters play music passionately, effortlessly gliding up and down a fretboard, singing songs and moving across the stage. If song was fuel for a run Frank Turner could beat the greatest with enough left at the finish line to take a cheetah in the quarter mile. He’s fueled up with passion, he speaks of compassion, and it carries over to the crowd. He plays fast, he plays loud, it’s disciplined and complex. His music has the power of punk rock and the thoughtfulness of singer songwriter. He brought his band, The Sleeping Souls, and a wonderfully curated line up to the Fillmore Auditorium.
Tiger Army, the quintessential pillar of modern rockabilly music, called “psychobilly,” came out from California. They’re not on tour and came to Denver just for this show. The crowd appreciated them. They’re a three piece act and don’t skip a beat. Upright bass thumping, standing high atop his instrument, grease lightning. It’s fast, it’s fun and goes like John Milner in AMERICAN GRAFFITI with the header plugs removed on his yellow deuce coupe. It’s quick and the theme in their lyrics are updated. Think “resto-mod” ’32 roadster. Looks and sounds like old stuff, but brand new and goes like a bat from below.
Canadian rock band The Arkells and British folk singer Will Varley are on tour. Will came out first and just played his guitar and shared his heart. There’s worth in his thoughts and his songs, he’s a fun songwriter too. It’s an act of bravery to perform alone with your guitar and Will is brave, telling stories and singing songs. He was followed by the Arkells. Their music is a crowd pleaser and their performance is high energy, Singer Max Kerman was all over the stage and climbed into the crowd while performing and singing.
Frank took to the stage letting the crowd know, “I’ve sacrificed my physical self for rock and roll.” He rattled off a number of injures he’s had on stage and the cities he received them. His doctor told him, “umm, please stop.” He chooses to come out every night to “jump around” and he encourages the crowd to do the same.
The show features a crowd surfing scavenger hunt where high fives and selfies are collected as a person was passed through the air hand by hand above the crowd. Frank borrowed from death metal with a “Wall of Death.” His wall, however, is a wall of hugs where the crowd greeted each other. There was an impromptu “Denver Can Can” as Frank noticed the back of the room arm in arm swaying and kicking their legs up. A kind of punk rock red rover. He closed the show, himself with crowd surfing and sing alongs. It was well received good fun with a message of positivity. Have a look back at the photos.