Frank Turner,Dive Dive Live Review @ 53 Degrees (University of Central Lancashire) (Preston) - 03 Dec 2010
Two days before tonight's show at 53 Degrees, Preston, Frank Turner was meant to be rolling up in Aberdeen with Ed Hardcourt and Dive Dive as part of a sell out twelve night UK tour. Due to the adverse weather conditions, there was no way the guys could make it, and judging by the blog on Frank's official website, he was genuinely upset that the show had to be cancelled and rearranged. Tonight's show in Central Lancashire was never in doubt as there had barely been a flake of snow to fall. Now, not very often can it be said that the Lancashire weather works as an advantage!!
Including these twelve dates, Frank will have played 206 shows and festivals in this calendar year which is simply incredible. Surely one of the hardest working artists on the current circuit, but tonight's gig was as full of passion and energy as any of the gigs, right from the off, starting with half an hour of some good old British Rock from Dive Dive.
Oxford rockers Dive Dive, will probably work harder than most during this tour, as not only do they open up the gigs, but they also act as Frank Turner's backing band. With most people in the venue for the start of the show, it was a great chance for Dive Dive to showcase their own material.
Opening up with Mr 10%, which is the opening track to their third studio album Potential, which is to be released in January, it was obvious what we were going to get; some uncomplicated, well written and well performed British Rock Music. The seven tracks performed by Dive Dive were exclusive new tracks taken from both the January 13th 2011 album and the recently released Extended Play, Liar.
After some quirky renditions of Name And Number, Alarum, and This Ain't Jetplane, and an interesting song introduction about trying to kill an ex-girlfriend, the entertaining foursome cranked up the quality with the very impressive new single, Liar. Great guitar and a clinging chorus, this is a gem of a track which I'm now addicted to. Great start to the evening.
At around 9:30pm, an enthusiastic Frank Turner graced the stage to play a set combining songs from all three studio albums, with plenty of notorious audience participation. In a perfectly constructed set list, we see and experience a number of songs which tell a great deal about an underrated singer songwriter, both with solo performances with his acoustic guitar, and with more substantial numbers with the rest of the band. Early on, we get a raucous version of Imperfect Tense, full of raw guitar strokes, flowing drums, and a good example of Turners impressive vocal range.
The folk-punk rocker then changes the ambiance soon after with Fathers Day, which sums up a very personal style in a number of ways. Firstly, Frank Turner is a very lyrical artist, writing and singing from the heart, and on more than one occasion I found myself dumfounded by what he was actually singing about. In this song, on the odd occasion, the words don't actually fit the line, but it is so important to sing the exact words he wants, he squeezes them in. An original sound but very poignant, further illustrating the importance and thought to have gone into the lyrics. This is also a beautiful sounding song, but actually very simple, and part of the genius of the man is the fact that if you can play half a dozen chords on a guitar, you will be able to play much of his catalogue. Many a budding guitarist will try this every day, but only few can pull it off.
I wondered if Reasons Not To Be An Idiot would be left to an encore, but it was played mid-set to the joy of the crowd. This is probably the song to have the most radio air time and was performed with great energy. As the evening progresses, we continue the theme of changing the tempo as we sombrely work through Substitute and Worse Things Happen At Sea, before we are lead into the rallying cries of The Road, Photosynthesis and the magnificent new song from the 2010 Rock And Roll E.P. I Still Believe.
A personal highlight to the evening was Long Live The Queen, from the 2008 album Love Ire and Song. An emotional song about the loss of a loved one, played magnificently in front of a captivated audience. It was another moment in an evening scattered with mixed emotions created by an artist who is a master of his craft. Throughout, Frank was charming, cheeky and funny whilst also thriving in being the ringleader of an evening of great music. A truly fantastic performance.
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