Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
Two Cow Garage
Homeless Gospel Choir
May 26, 2016
I spent yesterday feeling agitated and anxious and feeling very strongly like I did NOT want to go to the Frank Turner concert. This is pretty normal for me and I'm sorry to say I have let it keep me from going to shows before, even shows that I KNEW I would love and even had tickets for (Airborne Toxic Event, Guster, for example).
But if you know me, you know that I feel a great sense of duty, or attachment, or something, to Frank Turner. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that his music has saved my life. At the very least, it has kept me going through some very dark times, or, in the case of his newest album, Positive Songs for Negative People, was waiting there for me when I was ready to climb out of the Pit of Despair.
More on that in a different blog.
Suffice it to say, I dragged myself to the show, husband in tow.
By the time we got under way I was ready and I told him, "I'm going to need to be up by the stage this time. In the thick of it." I guess I'm a weird kind of introvert, where I need to soak up the energy of other people without really having to interact with them. And if you want energy, go to a freaking Frank Turner concert.
We arrived a little late for the opening set, which was the Homeless Gospel Choir, which, surprisingly, was just one dude. And he was amazing. He reminded me of the Front Bottoms and Andrew Jackson Jihad. To be honest, I've been listening to him all morning and now I can't remember which songs I heard last night. I'm pretty sure Armageddon was one. But what I took away from the part of his set that I heard was, I guess, validation that as a 30-something, I'm not alone in feeling discontented with the way the world is, politics, etc, nor am I alone in my anxiety and depression.
I felt so strongly about it that I kicked the old social anxiety in the hoo ha and introduced myself and got a picture with him. It took me about two songs in the next set to stop shaking, but it's totally worth it. I don't even feel [too] bad about only coming up "I think you're my spirit animal" as a way of expressing my appreciation for his songs.
Next up - Two Cow Garage. Another band I'd never heard of. It took me a little longer to get into their set, because their vocals were hard to hear so I couldn't really make out the lyrics. I liked their sound for sure and I did get into it. Again, thanks to my crummy memory, I'm not actually sure which songs I heard, except I remember this one for sure.
But I heard the same theme that I heard in THGC. I told my husband "This tour should be called the "Hit Abbe Right Where She's At Tour". Mental health. Freedom to be who you are. Railing against injustice. At one point in their set, I'm going to guess Shane, based on a quick Google, said something about remembering how you feel tonight, with all these people on your side. And to hang onto that when you're out in the world feeling shitty, being bullied, or having a hard time. "Because without each other, we're nothing."
I was feeling downright emotional by the time Frank Turner came out. First let me say that the Sleeping Souls are great. When I saw Frank in Canada this past winter, it was a solo show and he was great but I found I missed the rest of the band. It was nice to have them back this time around. They have such great stage personality. Watching them is fun. And hearing all those songs live... frankly it takes me back to when I was a Baptist, and the praise music would move me in such a profound way that I would lift my hands, almost to try to reach out and physically grab it. It's a really hard feeling to reconcile when he plays Glory Hallelujah.
And I can get that feeling from listening to his albums, but nothing compares to being packed in, body to body, with all kinds of other people who are as focused and caught up in the music as you are. Everyone is singing, dancing. It's a weirdly spiritual experience all the way around. I'm not trying to deify Frank. I'm just trying to say that in there, in that moment, you can plug into something so much bigger than yourself, tap into this collective consciousness. It's truly profound.
Okay. I realize I'm starting to sound like I'm in a cult so I'll just wrap this up.
I'm just so grateful for that show last night. From start to finish, I felt like it was calling me out of the cave I've been hiding in and inviting me to live in the world. "Being afraid of living is just the same as dying." -- I guess I do remember one more Two Cow Garage song. That line is from Glass City.