Once again I went to a show having not heard a note of anyone’s music beforehand. What can I say, sometimes I like to live dangerously. Plus the show was part of my friend’s birthday party, and since she has generally excellent taste in music I was willing to bet it would be a good night. Spoiler alert: I was right!
Jenny Owen Youngs was up first, by herself with her guitar. She was at the opposite end of the stage from me, so the pictures are kind of awkward. But here’s one anyway:
Larry and his Flask were up next. When they came out with a banjo, electric mandolin and an upright bass, but yet also a drum set, I expected they’d continue the mellow tone of the evening and play up-tempo but still sedate bluegrass-inflected folk-rock.
Instead they unleashed a whirlwind of bluegrass-inflected punk rock that was one of the finest musical experiences I’ve ever had. Here they are in action:
And then the gentlemen we had all been waiting for, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Mr. Turner and his merry crew are not quite as frenetic as Larry and his Flask; more folk rock than folk punk, though Turner’s hardcore roots are definitely tangible in their sound.
The crowd started jumping and singing with him as soon as he started to play, and while I did enjoy the music, it was also a pleasure to be around people that were that happy.
1) The moment in the middle of the set the room went silent, or as silent as Webster Hall can be when it is full to bursting, while he sang Tell Tale Signs.
It’s new(ish), the third song in a trilogy, and its about love, and also about scars. It is raw and beautiful and left me a little bit breathless and almost kind of alarmed, like I had read something intensely personal that had accidentally been made public.
2) The end, when he closed down the main set with Photosynthesis. That one is a song about getting old and tired and the ways in which the world can pull you down, but also about resisting that drag.
The chorus is I will not sit down and I will not shut up / and most of all I will not grow up, and hearing a packed house sing those words at the top of their lungs was a kick in the pants that I very much needed.
And now, some pictures from the set: