Positive Songs for Negative People: Frank Turner at the Boston House of Blues 9/26/15

Frank Turner is touring the US right now to promote his new album, Positive Songs for Negative People, but I don’t think I saw a single negative person in the audience last weekend at the House of Blues. This was a really friendly crowd, tons of smiles and strangers offering to get drinks for people they had just met. The packed house didn’t surprise me, but the range in ages in the audience did – at least one as young as 10! Frank Turner is a musician with wide appeal indeed!

The night started off with Beans on Toast, just one guy, Jay McAllister, on acoustic guitar. He seemed to be having fun and entertained us all with songs and stories. One story he told was about a girl who introduced herself at one of his shows. She told him about a guy who had tried to pick her up, trying to pass himself off as a musician, playing a Beans on Toast song and saying that it was his. She wound up dumping him but bought a Beans on Toast CD and t-shirt, so Jay thanked the guy and anyone else who wanted to try stealing his songs.

This guy is really a marketing genius! After he left the stage, he invited people to meet him at a side table where he sold t-shirts, decorated with a “custom design” that he drew right there with a magic marker. One little girl showed us her t-shirt with a big “Surprise!” written on the front.

Skinny Lister filled the stage next with lots of energy, moving and dancing non-stop during every song. They involved the audience with their contagious energy, inviting everyone to sing along. Michael Camino, the double bass player even crowd-surfed while still holding onto the instrument (about as big as another full-sized man). I don’t know how he didn’t get dropped, but he seemed confident and kept playing as he rode the tide of hands! Later on, Lorna Thomas, the lead singer, also jumped out to take a turn at surfing the crowd, but she took her cell phone along. A smaller and easier instrument to handle maybe – she managed to take selfies with the crowd as they were passing her high overhead. She was in a short dress and heels by the way, which couldn’t have made this any easier.

Frank Turner performed with his band The Sleeping Souls for at least two hours, as well as doing a few solo songs. I would be surprised if the first night’s performance was as lively as this night’s was, because I just don’t know where they get their energy from! They covered the stage from one end to the other, dancing and jumping as they played. Their energy was infectious and easily transmitted: you couldn’t help but join! They thrilled the audience with a wide selection of songs from a number of their albums, not just Positive Songs for Negative People. The front row was filled with girls hanging on every word, yelling and singing even louder when they heard their favorite songs. Frank said he loved it when the audience sings along, saying, “making music is an act of expression that everyone can enjoy, no need for expensive seats or backstage passes to participate.”

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
Frank Turner – lead singer, guitar
Ben Lloyd – guitar, mandolin
Tarrant Anderson – bass
Matt Nasir – piano
Nigel Powell – drums

Frank Turner Setlist
Get Better
If Ever I Stray
Try This at Home
Peggy Sang the Blues
Losing Days
Silent Key
Sons of Liberty
Love Forty Down
Wessex Boy
The Real Damage
Dan’s Song
The Way I Tend to Be
Plain Sailing Weather
Glory Hallelujah
Reasons Not to Be an Idiot
Long Live the Queen
The Next Storm

Song for Josh
I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
I Still Believe
Four Simple Words

Skinny Lister
Daniel Heptinstall – bass
Lorna Thomas – singer
Maxwell Thomas – mandolin
Michael Camino – double bass
Sam Brace – guitarist
Thom Mills – mandolin

Skinny Lister Setlist
Raise A Wreck
George’s Glass
Bold as Brass
John Kanaka
Rollin’ Over
Trouble On Oxford Street
Seventeen Summers
If the Gaff Don’t Let Us Down
This Is War
Forty Pound Wedding

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