Frank Turner Charms Chicago Yet Again

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 30, 2013 9:20PM

The subject of Frank Turner's relentless attitude towards touring has been broached and beaten to death in articles about the English singer/songwriter. However, it's impossible to describe his performance last night at the Vic without mentioning it yet again.

The first distinct element of the show was the absence of an acoustic guitar slung from Turner's shoulders. After completing the third song in his set, he explained that a recent back injury threatened to cancel the rest of his concerts through 2013. Not happy with the diagnosis, Turner worked out a deal with his doc: he could keep touring if he handed off the guitar to another band member.

Ironically, Turner was more mobile and reckless on stage last night than ever before, jumping, running, leaping into the crowd and doing other things that seem healthy for a man with a shoddy back to do. The potential risks involved weren't exactly on this writer's mind though. In fact, I was thinking, he should ditch the ax more often! Last night's concert further elevated Turner's image as the idealistic frontman and the lack of constraint made for even more fun on stage.

By the time Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, wrapped up last night, an exhausting hour and a half later, it was easier to count the songs they didn't play rather than the ones they did. Turner's growing global fanbase has a rabid love for this punk rocker with a heart of gold and Chicago's audience didn't break the mold. Fans loudly welcomed anything he decided to play, from relatively ancient tracks like "The Ballad Of Me & My Friends" to new classics off his most recent album Tape Deck Heart to a pleasantly unexpected cover of Shellac's "Prayer to God"—part of Turner's attempt to cover a regional song in each city he plays, he explained.

Maybe it's his ability to write sing-a-longs with substance. Perhaps it's the fact that his energy and vocal abilities never seem to wane now matter how many shows he plays. Maybe it's just the accent. Whatever the case, Turner manages to charm the hell out whatever crowd he's in front of.