Frank Turner performed an intimate acoustic set as part of the XFM Presents with Ford SYNC series on Monday (30 September), and premiered a new track.
Walking onto the stage at the Camden Monarch in front of 180 competition winners and close family, he immediately sat down on a stool and said: “You’ll notice I’m sitting down. It’s because I screwed my back up and I’m not allowed to stand. But we’re still going to have a rock n roll show, right?”
He then began a 23-song set, stopping to talk between most songs to explain their origin, such as ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ from this year’s ‘Tape Deck Heart’, which Turner said is about making stupid phone calls when you’re drunk, “looking at your call list in the morning and realising you rang someone and said ‘I still love you, call me back’.”
Turner said he had no setlist for the show, taking requests from the audience if they donated £10 to WarChild, and at the end of the gig promised to try to match whatever the crowd had raised himself. “I will, although you lot have really put a lot in the collection buckets and, well, I’m not that rich, but we’ll see what I can do.”
The singer’s own brand of beer, ‘Believe’, was on sale behind the bar, although Turner chose to drink another brand of lager. When a member of the audience pointed it out, he responded saying: “I’ve been debating this – which is the bigger dick move, being on stage drinking my own beer, or being on stage and not drinking my own beer?”
Introducing ‘Tattoos’, he said: “I’ve got loads and my mum hates then. I’ve got one she doesn’t know about inside my lip and I’m never going to tell her. So don’t tell her, please,” while ‘Peggy Played The Blues’ was played for his gran who used to live moments from the venue.
The three-song encore began with a new song, ‘Sweet Albion Blues’, seemingly an ode to all the places Turner has travelled while on tour, although he only played the unfinished song on the condition no one filmed it and uploaded it to YouTube.
“That site is the bane of my existence,” he said. “I get abuse for changing a song from a version online. My own song! And what a way to experience life, through a tiny screen. There’s nothing I can do if you do upload it, there’s no penalty but I will think you’re a dick.”
The encore also featured a cover of Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’.
It was the second cover of the evening, the first being ‘The Plea Of A Cat Named Virtue’ by Canadian band The Weakerthans. Finally, he played ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’. The show was supporting XFM’s fund for War Child.