There’s a line in the Frank Turner song “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” (from 2008’s Love, Ire & Song) about being “almost on the guest list, but always stuck in traffic.” I couldn’t help but perseverate on that line on the seemingly endless drive home from a long holiday weekend. The tryptophan-induced coma that were Route 84 and the MassPike, along with the early start time (5pm doors?!? Seriously?!?) made it seem increasingly likely that this would mark the third time in a row that I’d just miss Turner as he rolled through Boston.
Alas, at the repeated insistence of my better half, I was able to make it on time for Turner’s sold out set at the House of Blues (albeit too late for tour openers Koo Koo Kangaroo and The Smith Street Band). Turner and his Sleeping Souls, playing to their adopted hometown of Boston delivered non-stop energy, blistering their way through nineteen songs in roughly 90 minutes. The crowd (which, for the record, was the largest North American headlining show the band had played to date, and was much larger than the crowd gathered across town for Slayer on this night) was up to the task of making the event a communal, shared experience, singing and dancing and jumping-jacking throughout.
The band (and Turner’s injured back) may have been tired after a thirty-nine date US tour, but they showed no real signs of wear and tear from the road. “Photosynthesis” kicked off the evening, and found the band firing on all cylinders straight out of the gate. The set featured a decent mix of tracks from Turner’s last three albums (Love, Ire & Song, England Keep My Bones, and this year’s Tape Deck Heart), with “The Ballad Of Me And My Friends” from 2007’s Sleep Is For The Week thrown in for good measure. As an encore, Turner went against the wishes of his back doctor and strapped on a Gibson Hummingbird, leading the crowd on a sing-along rendition The Standells’ classic Boston anthem “Dirty Water.” As Turner was not familiar with all of the lyrics, assistance was provided on stage by good friends (and Dropkick Murphys) James Lynch and Scruffy Wallace. Click here to check out our full photo gallery.