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Live Reviews

Frank Turner

Thursday 14th January 2021

Livestream

Frank Turner Independent Venue Love 15 poster
Independent Venue Love 15 event poster

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Frank Turner – Live Review

Throughout the first national lockdown musicians were forced to find creative and innovative new ways to connect with their fans. This unique time saw the popularity of the music livestream rise as exponentially as the cases of the horrible virus that created the situation.

read our blog on the impact of livestreams on the music industry

The pandemic has caused us all to feel many negative emotions such as fear, worry, grief and sadness. For music fans, it has robbed us of a vital outlet which impacts greatly on our mental health. I recently discussed the immense impact of music on my mental health in my blog post ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’.

For musicians and everybody that works within the music industry it has caused significant crisis. Our beloved grassroots music venues are at risk. Musicians and live events workers employment has vanished overnight. Plus a light has been shone on the unfair recompense for artists from streaming.

read our blog on the #BrokenRecord Campaign

In amongst the darkness however there has been the odd glimmer of light. One man that has taken the power of livestreaming to heart is Frank Turner. Not only that but he has used this platform to raise awareness and valuable funding for those struggling venues, becoming a champion of the #SaveOurVenues campaign.

read our blog on the #SaveOurVenues Campaign

Turner’s Thursday night livestreams dubbed ‘Independent Venue Love’ have been a huge success. They have provided Turner with a connection to his fans. They have provided those fans with a vital distraction to raise their spirits. Whilst importantly they have raised the aforementioned funds. The success of these livestreams was one of the reasons we gave Turner the ‘Artist of the Year’ award in our review of 2020.

Now as we enter what has been dubbed Lockdown 3, Frank Turner has picked up his guitar once more ready to serenade his adoring fans. Turner will also again raise some much needed money and awareness for struggling venues. Tonight that venue is The Lantern in Halifax and the crowdfunder is here.

During his initial wave of livestreams, Turner focused on albums, or periods of his career to structure the events. This time around however, having exhausted his back catalogue, in order, last time around, Turner is handing the setlist over to his fans.

This ‘All Request’ format works extremely well with Turner’s wife Jess Guise behind the keyboard, monitoring requests and feeding them to Turner. It must be said that Turner’s ability to remember how to perform obscure songs from his catalogue at the drop of the hat is very impressive (‘English Curse’ aside 😋 )!

Turner has always been an artist that can turn the largest room into the smallest space, so the ability to watch him from your own living room certainly brings a new meaning to an intimate venue.

Whilst some of the livestream events that have taken place during these troubled time have felt somewhat soulless affairs akin to watching a soundcheck video on Youtube, the same certainly cannot be said of Turner’s livestreams. Tonight he once again somehow manages to captive and enthral us from his own house. This is a quality that cannot be taught and is an assertion of Turner’s talents as both a musical showman and a human being.

The requested setlist tonight is a mixture of the usual suspects with ‘If Ever I Stray’, ‘Be More Kind’ and ‘Get Better’ intertwined with rarer numbers such as ‘Romantic Fatigue’, ‘Cleopatra In Brooklyn’ and ‘Rivers’. These events certainly provide Turner fans with the opportunity to hear some tracks that wouldn’t normally get a look in at a regular gig.

The highlight of the evening however comes around the midway point of the 90 minute show when Turner delivers two new tracks. With a new album on the horizon fans will be eager to hear what new music is on offer. Tonight Turner whets the appetite with two excellent tracks, the sombre tribute to Scott Hutchison ‘A Wave Across the Bay’, and the punchy ‘Punches’.

With the tease of more Thursday night streams to look forward to, Frank Turner continues to provide a vital public service not just to his fans in need of entertainment but music venues in desperate need of help.

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Live Reviews

FIVE4FIVE FEST

Friday 18th – Saturday 19th December 2020

Five4Five Fest makes triumphant return to help #SaveOurVenues!

Back at the height of the initial national lockdown, a streamed festival entitled Five4Five Fest did two things. It provided much needed entertainment to struggling music fans and raised money for heroic NHS workers.

Now in Lockdown version 364 or something like that, the festival returns to once again provide an escape from the horrors of real life. This time the event is raising money for a cause close to home for music lovers, the Music Venue Trust and the Save Our Venues campaign. We recently wrote about the reasons why this support is desperately needed in our blog Why We Need To #SaveOurVenues.

As with the May event, Five4Five Fest takes place over a Friday and Saturday night with an array of musical talent performing from their homes/garages and this time even a school! The festivities are streamed across multiple channels and at present you can still catch up on demand on Youtube here.

There are probably fewer ‘household’ names on the line-up this time around, but there is no lack in talent. The Friday kicks off with a gentle performance from Paper Mill who include former Lower Than Atlantis guitarist Ben Sansom. There are more sombre moments to follow with both Holiday Oscar and Rob Lynch serenading us with emotionally charged songs including Lynch’s hauntingly festive school assembly set.

There is plenty of rocking to be done too however, with headliners Yonaka particularly bringing the party with the likes of ‘Rockstar’ and ‘F.W.T.B.’. Yonaka are stars and deservedly close the Friday night. To end night one, we are treated by the band to a festive outing of ‘Last Christmas’.

Both nights include afterparty DJ’s for those at home looking to continue the party. In true festival fashion there is also merch available at five4fivefest.com. There are also numerous raffle prizes all raising money for the Save Our Venues campaign.

Onto Saturday and the lineup for day two is certainly louder with the fantastic Haggard Cat blowing away any cobwebs. Nova Twins and Hacktivist both also deliver the goods before a slight change in pace with the brilliant Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

The event is closed out by two fine young bands Normandie and finally Holding Absence. Again both performances provide great entertainment for those watching from home and whet the appetite for the return of live music.

The sad reality is however that many of the venues that these bands will frequent may not be around when music can finally return. They haven’t been properly supported by the government and they desperately need support. The good news is that you can help, by donating to the #SaveOurVenues campaign.

Once again Five4Five Fest has been a massive success and over the two evenings has showcased some amazing young talent. With your support and with hopes of battling this virus raised by recent vaccine announcements, lets hope and pray that soon enough we are able to return to watching these bands in our favourite venues!

You can still watch Five4Five fest and until Monday 27th December 2020, you can still donate, buy merch and enter raffles at five4fivefest.com.

Categories
Live Reviews

Beans On Toast

Sunday 22nd November 2020 Livestream

Livestreams have become a staple of the coronavirus pandemic for passionate music fans. COVID-19 has a lot to answer for and for some the rise of the livestream is a negative, for others however it has been a small light in the darkness. Enough about that for now however, as you can expect a full blog on the subject shortly.

There have been two types of livestream – firstly, the basic home-based setup that has seen a large uptake from individuals with acoustic guitars. However, with this setup not conducive of a full band, we have more recently seen a swathe of full band streams from inside actual venues. Tonight is the first, one man, an acoustic guitar and a plethora of items for sale!

That man is Jay McAllister, known professionally as Beans On Toast. This is a gentleman who has amassed a cult following from years of relentless touring, and it’s clear that this whole situation is uncomfortable for him. That’s not that say that he isn’t thoroughly entertaining, and ultimately the evening is free and the audience don’t even have to leave their homes!

As unusual as the show must be for the artist, it’s also a different experience for the audience. With Facebook Live however there is a live chat which makes the experience more engaging. You feel you are part of a moment, as opposed to simply watching an old video on Youtube. Plus, like I said, it’s free! But that’s not to say that Beans On Toast isn’t hoping to make a living.

With not one but two new albums out shortly, there are plugs galore for both albums and their associated merchandise. We even get his wife modelling the new clothing items for sale. As cringe worthy as that may sound, it actually adds to the quaintness and intimacy of the evening.

Musically Beans On Toast treats those listening to a good mix of old and new. We get old favourites like ‘I’m Home When You Hold Me’, ‘Watching The World Go By’ and ‘Things’ interspersed between new tracks from across his two new albums. The story of the two new albums is that every year on his birthday we get a new Beans On Toast album. This year that album is ‘Knee Deep In Nostalgia’ produced by the one and only Frank Turner.

With yearly albums, Bean On Toast is very topical in his lyrical content. With these tracks mostly written prior to the world turning upside down however, a locked down Beans On Toast sat and wrote some topical tunes. The outcome is a second album of songs inspired by 2020, ‘The Unforeseeable Future’.

A number of tracks from both albums have already been released as singles and already the likes of ‘The Village Disco’ and ‘Album Of The Day’ feel like classic Beans On Toast songs. Tonight we get to hear ‘My Favourite Teacher’ and ‘Patience?’ as the festivities come towards a close.

All in all, tonight will only have solidified fans opinions that these two albums threaten to be two of Beans On Toast’s best yet. An “encore” of ‘On And On’ closes the evening at around half past nine just in time for fans to chill out before bed – one of the big positives of a livestream!

Of course I want real live music back as soon as safely possible, but in the mean time livestreams provide the escape sought from reality. As discussed in my recent blog ‘Mental Health, Music and Me’, music is an escape; and those looking for an escape could do worse than the two new Beans On Toast albums!