Saturday, June 16, 2018

Concert Review: Frank Turner, Lucero, The Menzingers, The Homeless Gospel Choir at House of Blues, Dallas

Artists:  Frank Turner (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia), Lucero (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, Wikipedia), The Menzingers (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, BandCamp, Spotify, Wikipedia), The Homeless Gospel Choir (Official, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramBandCamp, Spotify, Wikipedia)
Venue:  House of Blues, Dallas (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
Date:  June 12, 2018

When it was announced that Frank Turner would be hitting the road with Lucero, The Menzingers, and The Homeless Gospel Choir I was super excited.  What a lineup!  Of course this tour wasn't coming through Oklahoma, but it was going to hit Dallas, TX and thanks to the generosity of my good friend Steve, we packed into my car and made the three hour drive to the Lone Star State.  After making our obligatory stop at Spaghetti Warehouse for lunch we went of the hunt for Good Records (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) the site of a Frank Turner solo show and signing before the main event later that night.  My son and I picked up a couple of records (England Keep My Bones and Love Ire & Song) and got our wristbands for the show before heading out to wander Dallas, taking in Dealey Plaza and talking some JFK assassination theories. 

We headed back to Good Records and were treated with a heartfelt, five-song solo set which consisted of three songs from his latest album Be More Kind (including the first solo performance of "Brave Face"), a deep cut from the Mittens EP, and the Turner classic "Long Live the Queen" which was dedicated to his uncle who recently passed away.  The five songs were all performed perfectly with hilarious banter in an intimate environment that created an intense connection to the music and performance.  Following the set we got to have our records signed and spend a few moments talking with Frank.  If people ever wonder why Frank Turner has such a connection with his fans, all one has to do is come to one of these signings.  He took the time, while being incredibly efficient in the process, to speak with pretty much everyone in attendance (that I saw at least), was kind and genuine and generous with the hugs, smiles, and handshakes.  This was more than worth the price of admission and is something I would do again in a heartbeat. 

This was my first time to attend an event at a House of Blues and I must say, I was impressed.  The venue was nice and clean, the stage was easy to see from almost any vantage point, the sound was excellent.  By the time we arrived we missed The Homeless Gospel Choir's set, which was a major bummer.  The Menzingers took the stage and blasted out a killer, high energy set of songs from last year's tremendous After the Party plus rousing renditions of "The Obituaries" from 2012's On the Impossible Past (the sing-along for this was incredible, well over 500 people screaming "I will fuck this up, I fucking know it" was extremely cool), "I Don't Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore" from 2014's Rented World, and the new track "Toy Soldiers."  Lucero was up next with what was easily the ballsiest set of the night, playing their new album, which comes out August 3rd (two months after this show), in its entirety.  The band closed out with their classic "I Can Get Us Out Of Here Tonight" from 2006's Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers to much adulation from the crowd.  This was my first time to see both Lucero and The Menzingers and both put on tight performances. 

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls took the stage, launched in to the first single from Be More Kind, "1933," and the place erupted.  From that moment on, the entire room was on fire.  With a set that included many songs from the new record, plus tons of classics and fan favorites, Turner and company completely owned the room.  I've been to a fair number of concerts over the years, many of which have been excellent, but none of them have been the absolute cathartic release and absolute pure joy as this one.  Standing next to my son only a few "rows" (for lack of a better term) from the stage, from beginning to end the gigantic smiles never left our faces.  I sang along to every song (yes I knew them all) and screamed at the top of my lungs to many of them.  The total and complete joy that ran through me was incredible and it was all thanks to Frank Turner and his incredible music.  A theme of his new record (review forthcoming) is being kind and taking care of each other.  That was a message taken completely to heart in the House of Blues Tuesday night.  Not only was this a phenomenal rock 'n' roll show, it was also a powerful philosophical lesson.  And before anyone gets all huffy puffy about music teaching a lesson, I challenge you to go and listen to songs like "Be More Kind" and "Get It Right," read their lyrics, and tell me that you disagree.  Because if you find some kind of flaw in --
So before you go out searching
Don't decide what you will find
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind
or
Sweet Lord I’ve had some visions
Of people having conversations
Instead of staring at their tiny screens
And pretending that they knew what to do 
then I don't know what to tell you.  This shit is genius and exactly what the world, what I, need right now. 

Frank Turner was already one of my favorite artists going into this show and now he's top 5, easy.  This was a breathtaking show by one of the great musical performers of our time.  I truly can't say enough good things about this night so I'll end with this.  Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls put on an all-time great performance in Dallas and it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of the experience.   

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