Monday night was like any other night. There was the beginning of a nip in the air, that crisp fall feeling was floating about. But for some reason I felt some urgency in getting myself to the Biltmore Cabaret. I couldn’t really figure out why. Just something was pulling me, encouraging me to rush. So it goes without saying that the second I walked through the doors, I was eager to hear some music, and soak up some of the experience.
Within about ten minutes, the second opening act Andrew Jackson Jihad took to the stage. This twosome from Phoenix had my attention within a few lyrics. Their jaunty folk, punk sound juxtaposed perfectly with their dark cynical poetry was a refreshing blast of something new. My favorite lines came from their two minute piece titled No More Tears, it was No more fat dumb fucks keeping people out of our nation. Such a pleasant lyric, to tickle your heart string.
The crowd seemed to agree with me and was mesmerized by the two band mates, Sean and Ben. They had kept the songs, short and sweet, and played them in a rapid firing sequence. This meant constant energy, constant sound and an almost hypnotized audience.
After they were finished, the velvet curtain closed around the stage. The doors to the cabaret seemed to act like a vacuum as more and more attendees were sucked through the entrance and piled into the venue. Within a matter of minutes, the place was a shoulder to shoulder bit of chaos. It was the perfect setting to experience some great music.
My anticipation level climbed, as flickers of movement were revealed by cracks in a the tussled curtain. Brief glimpses of the band setting up and mics, being wired, always seem to get my heart racing.
Suddenly the stage curtains were drawn apart. There, standing before us, was Franks Turner and The Sleeping Souls. After a few words of pleasantries they dove into the set.
The songs were aggressive yet emotional, carried on waves of a folk punk mix. The mob in attendance were loving every second of the presentation. Wait scratch that, they were loving every second of this experience. It was intimate, but it felt so much bigger than it was. Frank Turner has this man-possessed attitude on stage. He leaped around , with a veracious energy.
The lead guitarist, Ben Lloyd, of the Sleeping Souls, also carrier this dominant power on stage. He swayed and buckled to the whim of the music, becoming one with it. Ramming his face into his mic, to embellish every supporting note he uttered.
Behind the scene, with a little less front man presence, Tarrant Anderson on bass, Matt Nasir on piano, and Nigel Powell on drums had this calm collected cool about them. They were a quintet of awesome.
While the group pounded through their song list, the audience became more and more involved. At first it was just a bunch of heads rocking up and down. Then it was a few hands in the air, proverbially waiving them without a care. Then it was the spastic bodies of those possessed by the sound. It was organic, and something that I hope to experience. I too found myself lost in the sound, pulled in like some sort of tractor beam.
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls are one of those rare bands, that can deliver. They bring a level of energy to their shows that will leave you spellbound. Mix that with the pure poetry that they are presenting, and it is bound to cause a stream of drool to trickle off any concert lovers lip. I just want to thank the band for such a great experience. This show will be high on my list of favorites for a long time. The only thing I don’t like, is now I have to wait until they announce another local date to see them perform again.