Frank Turner headlined at the Fillmore June 5 at an unforgettable concert. The Fillmore’s large venue with glowing Cycladic walls, chandeliers and a large fully staffed bar was fitting for the crowd, who danced, crowd surfed and moshed throughout the concert.
The lineup, besides the headliner, Frank Turner, also included The Sleeping Souls, Lucero, The Menzingers and The Homeless Gospel Choir.
Frank Turner’s setlist started out with the fast paced “1933,” which successfully kicked off the rest of the set, which breezed by. Other memorable songs included “Be More Kind,” “Recovery” and “If Ever I Stray.” The performance also marked the live debut of “Brave Face,” which was received well by the crowd. Turner continued the impressive set, ending with a four song encore, including my personal favorite, “The Sand in The Gears.”
Although Frank Turner is an Englishman, he appears passionate about U.S. politics and actively writes and performs about the current Trump administration. This is made clear by his song entitled “Make America Great Again,” which reappropriates the iconic phrase. The song is about spreading compassion towards each other, specifically people marked by the U.S. as “illegal” and having less tolerance towards hate. Lyrics from the song include “You fought our king to be independent” and, from the chorus, “Let’s make compassion in fashion again.”
Frank Turner’s most edgy and politically relevant song is “The Sand in The Gears.” Turner prefaced the song during the show with commentary explaining that before his last performance in Philadelphia he was listening to Trump’s inauguration speech. “The Sand in The Gears” is a cynics guide in becoming outraged while encouraging action from listeners. The song reflects his cynical outlook on the U.S. political atmosphere but also advises how to step forward. His pessimistic lyrics include, “Because if we’re welcoming in World War Three / then I’m waving goodbye to my sobriety.” Turner continues to encourage action from listeners singing, “We can’t just spend the next four years in a safe space / I’m going to spend the next four years getting outraged,” and continues, “To let the motherf—ers know that we can’t be swept away.”
“The Sand in The Gears” has a cynical outlook that stands out from most of the other more uplifting and positive lyrics from other songs. While it might not be the his most feel-good track to listen to on your walk to class, I would argue it is the most relevant and resonates most with American listeners.
While Frank Turner is moving on in his tour, I highly recommend shaking up your playlist and giving his music a listen.