Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wikipedia), Bogues (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BandCamp), Boys Home (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Bandsintown, BandCamp)
Venue: 89th Street Collective (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
Date: September 25, 2017
This show wasn't supposed to happen. Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls were scheduled to open for Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at The Criterion Sunday night September 25th. Due to a death in the family in the Isbell camp, that concert and the following shows on the tour were cancelled/postponed. Turner being the touring monster that he is, reached out and got added to the bill at the 89th Street Collective with Bogues and Boys Home. The change was announced on Friday and was sold out well before the doors opened at 7:00 PM. This was the second time Turner and company played 8911 N Western Ave., the first was in 2011 when the venue was know as The Conservatory and he was supporting his fourth full-length album England Keep My Bones. This time around Turner noted that the bathrooms "were marginally better." Speaking of the venue, this was my first trip back to 89th Street since November of 2016 when I saw Beach Slang and I must say I love what the owners have done with the place. I have been going to shows in this building for nearly 18 years, and it was in rough shape back then. The building's still in rough shape, but the folks running it now are obviously pour a lot of hard work and money into making it a great place to see live music.
The show opened with Kansas natives Boys Home who played '90s drenched emo in the vein of Sunny Day Real Estate. The trio was tight, played their songs with heart and fervor, and got the off the stage in 30 minutes flat. Solo artist Bogues took the stage next and despite having some fun banter back and forth with the crowd, got up there, knocked out five or so great fuzzy indie rock numbers, and got the fuck out of dodge. I've been to a lot of shows over the years, but I have never seen two bands nail the opening act position quite like these guys did. They got in and got out and never for a second had the audience wishing they would leave. In fact I think it's safe to say that must of us in attendance were left wanting more. That's how you do it people! It also doesn't hurt that both bands were really good and well worth checking out.
When Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls took the stage, the room was buzzing. The anticipation for this show, seeing this incredible artist in such an intimate setting, was palpable and oh dear lord did they deliver. From the opening crash of "Get Better" to the closing crescendo of "Four Simple Words," Turner commanded and captivated the room. We held on his every word and the Sleeping Souls drove every note home with passion and purpose. This band is an incredibly well-oiled machine and Frank Turner is the epitome of a legendary rock 'n' roll front-man. There was dancing and hand clapping, sing-a-longs and crowd surfing, and all of it was an emotional and spiritual experience. The power of music to uplift and heal was on full display on N. Western Ave. last night as many souls were saved by the power of rock 'n' roll. I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege to see Frank Turner live and experience the true power of music.