Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls // Pet Needs // Truckstop Honeymoon // Live Review // The O2 Institute // Birmingham
Another night, another show, but this one is a special one for me. I found myself back at the o2 Institute for the first time in a long while for a night of Folk Punk, Country and Indie-Punk with a bill consisting of Truckstop Honeymoon, Pet Needs and my favourite artist of all time, Frank Turner. After getting to the venue and chatting with everyone in the crowd, the energy was as immaculate as expected and the anticipation was building.
It wasn’t long until the first act, Truckstop Honeymoonhit the stage with a mix of a standing bass, acoustic guitar and a banjo. The two-piece was one of the best opening acts I’ve seen in years with incredible stage banter, a damn tight performance and the crowd loved it as well, with laughs and cheers ringing out from across the room. The highlight for me personally though was the stage presence, for a two-piece opening a show to have that much charisma on stage is mind-blowing, and the amount of fun they had was contagious as I went into the main support with a massive smile on my face, as did the crowd. Definitely, a perfect way for the evening to begin
The next act up was Pet Needs, a 4 piece punk band from the UK who had some of the best energy I’ve had the pleasure of seeing on this stage. From the singer flying across the stage, balancing mix stands in his hands and another impeccably tight performance, the crowd were in a frenzy. It’s always great seeing the energy of the band rub off onto the crowd too with pits starting, people singing at the top of their lungs and all in all, just having the time of their life. I give it a couple of years till these guys are headlining the o2 circuit for sure.
After another changeover, the main act took to the stage to one of the loudest cheers I’ve heard in my entire time shooting shows. Now, including his side project Mingle Harde, this is my sixth time seeing Frank Turner and the Sleeping Soulslive, and as always, I was blown away. Instantly, the energy from the band got the crowd into a frenzy with the opening track Four Simple Words which worked perfectly as the room started to move and didn’t stop for pretty much the entirety of the 25-song set. The thing that always stands out at Frank shows though is the positive energy coming from everyone in attendance. At the start of the set, Frank Turner addresses the crowd with his list of two rules, those being Rule 1, “Don’t be a dickhead” and Rule 2, “If you know the words to a song, sing along” and the entire room took them to heart, with everyone becoming a community joined over a common love for music. The kindness of the crowd showed at its highest when Frank lead into A Wave Across the Bay, a song dedicated to his late friend, Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit who tragically took his life in May 2018. The room was silent as Frank wore his heart on his sleeve, it was a beautiful moment to experience.
I’m always happy after a show, but this one was something special for me. From two amazing support acts who both perfectly fit the tone of the night, to the kind, welcoming crowd and one of the best performances I’ve seen from Frank and the Sleeping Souls yet, I was invigorated, the stresses of life felt so much lighter and from everyone, I was speaking to on the way to my bus, that seems to be a mutual feeling. Go see Frank Turner live, it’s an experience everyone needs.