Okay, so this is meant to be a gig review, but I thought I’d make a more of a three date diary thing, as I wasn’t actually meant to be in Birmingham at all. It began with fellow Moon and Back-er/Frank Turner botherer, Anthony Barlow, planning on seeing the Frank man in Manchester on the Wednesday, then hitting the Leeds date the following day. The Manchester day went great, we did the interviews with Crazy Arm, Chuck Ragan and Frank Turner and they went really well. The gig itself was awesome. Unfortunately, the following day, I was DEAD. I’m not sure exactly why, I didn’t drink THAT much, but illness was a wash over me, my stomach felt like it was being eaten from the inside, and the anxiety that enjoys me so much was at an all time high, so Leeds, for me, was canceled. Barlow went, and said it was great, Chuck doing an extended set which included his cover of the Alkaline Trio hit, Bleeder.
So what was I to do? I couldn’t go a Frank Turner tour with only one installment, plus the lovely folk involved with Crazy Arm were super nice and I wanted to see them again, so here’s what happened.
The hugest thanks has to go out to, Xtra Mile’s very own Wonder Woman, Anthea, who has helped us, and Moon and Back in general, so friggin’ much. Once again she saved the day, hooking me up with a guestlist spot for the Birmingham show. But how the fuck am I gonna get there?! Alan Grundy is my dad, an old punker dude, and a God send. I bought him a ticket and around 5pm on Sunday, we were on our way. Once again, the impossible was pulled off with a little help from my friends (fuck off Beatles.)
Now onto the gig. First of all, we’ll get rid of all the negative points, Birmingham’s O2 Academy isn’t a great venue, Crazy Arm once again had a really short set, which is a shame, because they’re awesome, and people would not shut the fuck up during Chuck Ragan.
It has to be said that the Crazy Arm are thieves of the highest calibre, taking our insults from the interview and incorporating them into their set! GREEN ARMY! Plus, the guest vocals by Chuck on Crazy Arm’s International Front, frankly, gave me a music chubby.
Frankie baby takes the stage with a Bob Dylan backing soundtrack before bombing into Photosynthesis, one of my personal favourites, and by the sounds of things, one of the majority of Brummies too.
It seems that every gig, Turner gets a little more confident and his on-stage banter becomes a lot more transient, adding stories, jokes and politics seemingly in-between and even during songs. My personal best for the evening has to be before the song Sons of Liberty, where Turner asks the crowd politely to smash up any CCTV camera’s in their area, an example of just how much Frank hates this new Big Brother government horse-shit that seems to be coming more into effect with each day.
Musically, it’s a good mix from the FT catalogue, a good blend of new and old, with the usual acoustic/Frank solo installation about mid way through, with the full band Long Live the Queen we were treated to last time being scrapped and returning to its roots.
The set closed up with The Road, another of the new Turner tunes that seem to be putting his name up in lights. I can’t help but feel that a lot of the people at the gig were only there for this song specifically seeing as an otherwise stoic crowd seemed to erupt for this one, if only a little. There were no circle pits, but there was some sing-a-longs, with Turner and his band of merry men, as always, on top form.
On a trip to the bar I bumped into some of the Crazy Arm folk, and as the night continued I got to see them all, got a pint of cider in with Bassist Tim, and singer Darren even mentioned him stealing GREEN ARMY as soon as he saw me, damn I’m cool. After that, it was time to head home, filled with beer and cider, many service stops were made.
This turned out more like a blog-post than a gig review…….shit. If you enjoyed it though, you should check out my blog.