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DS Exclusive: Frank Turner plays his biggest North American show to date, w/Arkells, The Bouncing Souls (Boston, MA)

Frank Turner wound down the North American touring run in support of his 2015 full-length, Positive Songs For Negative People, in a big, big way; by headlining the Agganis Arena in his adopted American hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Turner has played the greater Boston area an awful lot over the last decade, and this particular night, Turners 2031st show as a solo artist, marked his biggest headlining show in the Western Hemisphere to date. It doesn’t exactly reek of journalistic credibility to insert yourself and your outlet into a story, but, well, this is 2017 America. Here at Dying Scene, we’ve covered Frank Turner perhaps more extensively than most other artists over the last half-dozen years, and in some ways Dying Scene’s increase in readership has mirrored Turner’s own increase in listenership on this side of “the pond.” It’s not a 1-to-1 causal relationship, mind you, just a reflection on our similar paths; we’ve caught up with him at record store performances and small club shows and large club shows to opening for bands like Dropkick Murphys and manning afternoon sets at larger festivals. So it was with great pleasure (and perhaps more than a little pride) that we got the chance to take in the events of the evening as Turner and his high-powered backing band, The Sleeping Souls, did their best to blow the roof off the not-quite-capacity 7200-seat arena located on the campus of Boston University.

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled, full-journalistic-integrity portion of the recap. Turner took the stage promptly at 9:20pm accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and started in alone on the first few verses of his newest track, “The Sand In The Gears,” before being joined by the remainder of the Sleeping Souls (Ben Lloyd on guitar, Nigel Powell on drums, Tarrant Anderson on bass and Felix Hagan, filling in for new father Matt Nasir on keys/mandolin/tambourine/etc) for the song’s group singalong outro. From there, as you might imagine the bulk of the set’s remaining twenty songs drew from Turner’s three most recent — and most popular — albums; Positive Songs…, 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, and of course, 2011’s breakthrough, England Keep My Bones, though even half-dozen older tracks turned in to rousing, full-audience singalongs as well. Frank Turner fans are notably passionate and rowdy, and the increased scope of the venue didn’t seem to invite very many casual fans; yours truly did several laps around the floor and the seating areas and found nary an ass in their proverbial seat for the bulk of the evening.

No doubt because of his increased popularity in Europe, but Turner didn’t seem overwhelmed by the size of the venue; appreciative and in awe, maybe, but not overwhelmed. While Turner’s roots remain very firmly planted in his love of punk and hardcore and metal, the energy that Turner and his band have always played with are perfectly suited to play to the very back of even the largest venue, performing as though it’s their duty to keep even those in the cheap seats out of their…well…seats. Before the night was over, the set would feature a full-venue “wall of hugs” (think a metal show’s ‘wall of death,’ only with much less death), opener Will Varley circling the venue and selfie-ing with the people in the top of the back row before taking a celebratory Jameson shot with Turner, and the frontman himself crowd-surfing for the bulk of show-closer “Four Simple Words.” As Turner himself pointed out, some of these efforts might seem like (and were, in fact) typical arena rock frontman hijinks, but they have an effect of engaging everybody in the process. Rock shows are, by definition, communal, celebratory events, and Turner and his mates have perfected the art of taking their responsibility to the audience seriously while conversely not taking themselves too seriously at all.

New Jersey punk veterans The Bouncing Souls served as direct support for this particular night, their only night on the Frank Turner tour, and their first Boston show since the release of their 2016 full-length, Simplicity. The Souls have conquered stages across the globe for more than a quarter-century, so they certainly seemed right at home on the Agganis’ large stage. The band ripped through eighteen songs in their forty-ish minute set, kicking things off with “That Song,” from 2001’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation. From a strictly sonic perspective, straight-forward one-guitar punk rock doesn’t necessarily translate well to a large hockey arena, as the sound tends to come across as loud and muddy. That seemed to be the case for the first half of the Souls’ set on this night, although things certainly improved from there. And the four-piece certainly had more than their fair share of amped up fans in attendance, with traditional favorites like “Sing Along Forever,” “Anchors Aweigh,” “Lean On, Sheena” and, of course, “True Believers,” inspiring gang chantalongs from all points (the latter featuring an unannounced, stealth-style on stage appearance from Boston punk legend Mike McColgan on guest vocals).

Arkells had been touring alongside Turner on the bulk of this run, and while they weren’t direct support on this particular evening, they certainly could have been. The Hamilton, Ontario-based five-piece hit the ground running from the first notes of set-opener “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete).” This is the first time that Arkells have graced the pages of Dying Scene, and their power-pop sound is outside the traditional scope of Dying Scene’s coverage spectrum, but their high energy, politically-charged set filled with positivity and unity was perfect for the evening’s overall theme. Arkells frontman Max Kerman rivals Turner’s own energy, and he had propelled himself onto the railing and into the crowd before the first chorus of the set’s aforementioned first song. If you’re a fan of Turner’s brand of arena folk-rock (and we are) and have a penchant for modern rock radio bands like Twenty One Pilots and Catfish and the Bottlemen, give them a Google.

With apologies to show-opener and frequent Turner tour mate Will Varley, the scope of the setting and the check-in procedure contained therein meant that yours truly missed the photo op portion of his set, though the latter half of his set that we did catch (especially “Talking Cat Blues”) were especially well-received be the vocal crowd. We’ll catch you next time, Will; promise.

Check out our full photo gallery below.

Todd Beene (Chuck Ragan, Lucero) streams “We Miss You” from upcoming album “I Can’t Be Serious”

Todd Beene – Photo credit: Claire Penn

DS Photo Gallery: Frank Turner at Newbury Comics and House of Blues, Boston, MA (9/26/15)

It’s a bit strange to view an event that takes place four thousand nautical miles as the crow flies away from an artist’s stomping grounds as a “homecoming” of sorts, but that’s essentially what it feels like when Frank Turner plays Boston nowadays. Now a decade-plus into his post-Million Dead solo career, the English folk/singer-songwriter has now got somewhere in the neighborhood of two-dozen shows under his belt in the greater Boston area. Those shows have run the “all shapes and sizes” gamut, from a drunken singalong at McGreevy’s (the bar owned by Dropkick Murphys founder and bassist Ken Casey)  to a high-energy set amongst 18,000 people at last May’s Boston Calling festival to, most recently, a pair of marathon sold out full-band shows at the 2000+ capacity House Of Blues in support of his newest album, Positive Songs For Negative People (Xtra Mile Recordings / Interscope Records).

The second of those two shows was preceded by an in-store appearance at the Newbury Comics location across the river from Boston in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. To give you an indication of the scope of Turner’s popularity in his adopted hometown, the line to obtain wristbands to the performance stretched down the location’s steep, lengthy entrance way, well over a hundred people deep…four hours before the man himself was actually due to arrive. Due to the frequently awkward setups amidst rows of media or, increasingly, Minecraft and Bob’s Burgers paraphernalia, in-store record shop appearances can be a bit of a idea that’s better in theory than in practice. Still, the enthusiastic capacity crowd for this particular event made the decent-enough layout all the more manageable. Turner started the performance with “The Next Storm,” the lead single off his latest album, and worked backwards through his catalog in one-song-per-release fashion opting for some deeper cuts rather than playing “Photosynthesis” for the 1736th time (that would come later in the evening). Ever the storyteller, Turner remained on site for a considerable time after the six-song performance, signing albums, shaking hands, hugging babies (well, a few toddlers and at least one seven-year-old) in a disarming manner that has a way of engaging even the most casual of fans. (Also, given that I’m tall and inherently mindful of that in crowded spaces, I hung way back, meaning that my better-half was on picture-taking duty for the occasion.)

The virtual homecoming party continued back in Boston proper several hours later at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street, an occurrence made ever the more chaotic by the fact that the struggling-yet-recently-encouraging Red Sox were playing at Fenway Park which, for the out-of-towners, is directly across the too-narrow street. Turner kicked his nearly two-hour-long set off with “Get Better,” the lead single from Positive Songs For Negative People. While obviously a new track, “Get Better” has proven to be an instant crowd favorite. The twenty-two song main set included a healthy dose of PS4NP to be sure, but did a pretty solid job of keeping old-school fans and more recent converts happy (“Song Of Liberty” and “Dan’s Song” had found their respective ways out of most Turner setlists in recent years, but both made appearances on this night). It takes an unique type of performer to engage 150 people at an in-store and 2200 people at a sold out concert hall in similar fashion, but Turner seems to have it all figured out, weaving between stripped down acoustic numbers (if “Josh’s Song” doesn’t punch you in the stomach every time, you have no soul) one moment and leaving the instrumentation to his stellar Sleeping Souls bandmates (Ben Lloyd on guitar, Tarrant Anderson on bass, Matt Nasir on piano and mandolin, and the ever-so-gentlemanly Nigel Powell behind the drumkit) allowing him to draw from his hardcore frontman days the next.

Hard-working, and hard-playing, six-piece UK folk act Skinny Lister provided direct support on this night, as they’ll do for the duration of Turner’s six-week tour. At least in these parts, Skinny Lister have developed a well-deserved reputation for providing exactly the type of high-energy set that is capable of not only warming a crowd for an opener such as Turner (or the Dropkick Murphys, or Flogging Molly, as they’ve done on multiple occasions) but of earning their own legion of converts. It’s tough to really boil down a Skinny Lister performance into a few hundred words: equal parts English folk music, sea shanty, and rum-soaked singalong. The 45-minute set included three separate band member crowd surfing appearances, including Michael Camino, who seems to have perfected the art of crowd surfing while playing the double bass without killing himself or anyone else. It really is a sight to behold, as is singer Lorna Davis’ constant ball of motion.

Beans On Toast, the alter-ego of British singer-songwriter Jay McAllister, kicked the evening off almost promptly at 6:30pm, getting off to a brief false start for technical difficulty-related reasons. Beans On Toast is a criminally-underrated songwriter; honest, thought-provoking, witty and uncomfortably funny. He might not necessarily look the part, what with his oversized outfit and lack of shoes, and he may have been playing a slightly larger stage than he’s used to in these parts, but McAllister’s storytelling was quick to win over the Boston crowd which can be notoriously fickle (we’re not quite Philadelphia, but we can be close at times). McAllister and Turner are old chums (it was Beans On Toast that convinced Turner to play the acoustic guitar a decade ago), and the former even joined the latter’s set as dance instructor during “Recovery,” which, when typed out, seems like a “you had to be there moment.” There are still plenty of dates left on the Positive Songs For Negative People tour; do yourselves a favor and “be there.”

Check out our photo gallery below.

Lucero streaming new song – “Can’t You Hear Them Howl”

The genre-crossing boys in Lucero have a new album in the works. The country/punk group are now streaming another new song off the album. Listen to “Can’t You Hear Them Howl” below.

The song is track four on the band’s upcoming album, All A Man Should Do, which is due out next month (Sept. 18th). You can pre-order the album right here.

Lucero’s last release was August 2014’s Lucero: Live From Atlanta.

New Music: Frank Turner streams “Glorious You” from upcoming album “Positive Songs for Negative People”

Frank Turner, who at this point needs no quantifiers attached to his name, is streaming another new song from his upcoming album, “Positive Songs For Negative People.” It’s called “Glorious You,” and its one of the more uplifting songs on a generally pretty uplifting album. Check it out below.

“Positive Songs for Negative People” is due out this Friday (August 7th). Take our word for it; if you like Frank Turner…you’ll love the album!

Frank Turner’s previous full-length release was 2013′s “Tape Deck Heart” (Interscope Records).

Lucero releases music video for “Went Looking for Warren Zevon’s LA” off upcoming “All A Man Should Do” album; preparing for Fall tour

Punk’s honky-tonk heroes Lucero have just announced an upcoming tour this fall in support of their forthcoming album “All A Man Should Do”, currently scheduled for a September 18th release date.

Have a look at the complete list of tour dates and locations below.

Additionally, the band has just made a new song from the album available to stream. The track is entitled “Went Looking for Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles” and you can have a listen below.

Lucero last released “Lucero: Live From Atlanta” back in August, 2014.

Full Set Video: Anberlin’s farewell tour in NYC

Anberlin are currently wrapping up their farewell tour after announcing plans to call it a day back in January. Whether or not you were able to check out the tour, you can watch the full set from one of their NYC dates below.

Anberlin released their final album Lowborn on July 23rd through Tooth & Nail Records.

Anberlin post video for “Stranger Ways”

Orlando’s Anberlin have a new video for the track “Stranger Ways,” and you can watch it below.

The new song will be released on their new (and final) album, Lowborn, which will be released on July 23rd via Tooth & Nail Records.

Anberlin stream new song “Atonement”

Anberlin are streaming a new track from Lowborn, which will be their final album. You can listen to “Atonement” below.

Lowborn is set to be released July 23rd through Tooth & Nail Records. The band released their sixth album Vital in October 2012, and re-released it under the title Devotion: Vital Special Edition in October 2013. Both were put out on Universal Republic Records.

Anberlin stream “Hearing Voices”

Anberlin are streaming a new track from Lowborn, which will be their final album.

You can listen to “Hearing Voices” below.

Lowborn is out July 23rd through Tooth & Nail Records. They released their sixth studio album, Vital, in October 2012, and re-released it under the title Devotion: Vital Special Edition in October 2013. Both versions of the album came out on Universal Republic Records.

Self Defense Family announce new 7-inch EP

Self Defense Family have announced a new EP, which you can see above. It will be a 7-inch featuring the songs “Indoor Wind Chimes” and “Cottaging.” The exact release date is still unknown, but it will be out soon via Deathwish Inc.

SDF last released “Try Me” in January 2014.

Lucero announce “Lucero: Live From Atlanta,” release live track “Tears Don’t Matter Much”

Punk’s honky-tonk heroes Lucero have just announced details for their upcoming live album “Lucero: Live From Atlanta.” The album was record at the band’s recent show at the Terminal West and will consist of 32 tracks.

You can check out a live recording of “Tears Don’t Matter Much” below.

“Lucero: Live From Atlanta” will be released August 12th 2014. The band last released their “Texas and Tennessee EP” in April 2013.

Four Year Strong sign to Pure Noise Records

According to a recent post on their Facebook page, Massachusetts pop-punks Four Year Strong have signed to Pure Noise Records.

Nothing has been said about plans for a new release with the label but we’ll keep you all in the know. Four Year Strong last released In Some Way, Shape, or Form in 2011 through Universal Republic Records.

Anberlin announce title for final album

Anberlin, who will be breaking up this year, have announced their new album will be titled Lowborn.

There is still no official release date but we’ll keep you posted as more details come to light.

Anberlin released their sixth studio album, Vital, in October 2012, although they re-released it under the title Devotion: Vital Special Edition in October 2013. Both versions of the album came out through Universal Republic Records.

Anberlin finish recording, mixing & mastering final full-length

According to a recent post on their Twitter page, Florida emo veterans Anberlin have finished working on their seventh and final full-length album. The post simply states “Tracked, mixed, mastered. #anberlin.”

We’ll be sure to keep you posted as more details on the record, which will serve as a follow-up to 2012’s Vital, come to light.

Anberlin announced plans to break up back in January. Prior to doing so, they will play the entire Warped Tour in addition to farewell tours in the US and elsewhere (details can be found below).