the Joiners, Southampton

Frank Turner

The Joiners have publically announced their recent alarm at the financial deficit they are facing, but with a history hosting some of the UK’s top artists during their rise to fame, one man agreed to help bring them back to a stable financial status once again.

In a world where the money hungry image of mainstream artists has corroded the morals of the music industry, it would seem out of the question for an act who has headlined Wembley Arena and played the Olympic opening ceremony in 2012 to play a venue only a fraction of the size which they’re capable of playing with no fee…but luckily this world has been blessed with Frank Turner.

After the VERY intimate show sold out twice the intended capacity in only 90 seconds due to a glitch on the online bookings system, Frank agreed to play two sets in one night in order to prompt the survival of a venue very close to his heart.

As a pulsating, warm atmosphere swells around the venue, the only support on the night comes in the form of local singer songwriter Sean McGowan accompanied by Dean Paul. It’s clearly a special night for the young artist as his passion shines out through a raw and powerful set filled with personal lyrics and brutal honesty in his craft. Although his sound isn’t spawning any new concepts, it’s certainly proving he’s got one hell of a set of lungs on him, as his desperate, punchy vocals soar in a pitch perfect fashion. It’s his brave decision to exhibit a flawlessly executed piece of spoken word to finish his set which sparks true potential. Much like Frank, he’s a fan of speaking his mind and as long as he doesn’t mark his territory in the paths of enemies through his opinionated views then he’ll do just fine.

Sean McGowan

Just like that, the night has already reached the main attraction; Frank Turner is back at one of the key venues which helped birth his success. It’s a strange experience for me, as I have seen this man play the main stages of Reading and Latitude Festival as well as the Southampton Guildhall in recent years, so seeing him casually walk onstage with no backing band or suspense driven introduction reminded me that like every person in the venue, he is only human (something we sometimes forget with our musical heroes). It’s not your standard set though, as Frank urges the packed out venue to take part in “paid requests” where he played songs for those who stuffed a generous bribe into a donation bucket.

Frank Turner

Not only did Frank play tonight’s show for no fee on his Birthday (search through photos of the night for an amazing cake), he also said he would double whatever amount of money was donated during his set. Incredible charity and excited vibes aside, let’s not forget that even on his own, Frank is a true performer and a stunning talent. After admitting this was his third set in 24 hours after flying over from a gig in Zurich, the clearly exhausted frame of the Wessex boy did not quake as he delivered some outstanding solo renditions of songs which you probably wouldn’t hear with his full band as well as some hilarious stories.

This review is less of a review and more of a documentary of how strong the bond between musicians and venues like the Joiners can be. Frank Turner has truly set the bar for generosity tonight, as his world class attitude both on and off stage is utterly inspiring. Let’s pray that following the sensational experience of tonight’s show that more people will get out of their homes and support the incredible bands which Pat and his team bring every week of the year.



Review by George “can’t believe I got tickets for the main performance” Fullerton
Photos by Susan Jane Devlin

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