Show Review

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

Live @ The Grog Shop

photo courtesy of google images
Matt MacDonald
On Wednesday, September 12th, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls played the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights with supporting acts Larry and his Flask & Jenny Owen Youngs.

Prior to this show, I didn’t know what to expect. The buzz around Frank Turner has been growing over the past couple of years. From what I’d previously heard of his work, it was good, but none of it really left a lasting impression on me.

Opening the show was Jenny Owen Youngs. I can't imagine that being the opening act on a three-band bill is ever any fun. In its most base form, you are only there to warm up the crowd for the acts that are following you. Singing songs about love, sex and T-Rex (the dinosaur, not the band), Jenny Owen Youngs was a pleasant surprise. She reminded me of a young, biker version of Ani DiFranco.

Following Jenny was Larry and his Flask. I can honestly say that everyone at this show was unprepared for this group. Six well-dressed and hairy men took to the stage and proceeded to whip the crowd into a frothing frenzy. If I had to encapsulate their sound or what they sang about, I would have to say that they sounded like rockabilly on methamphetamines.

Early in Larry and his Flask’s set, an electrical problem shorted the stage lights out completely. It's a shitty thing to happen to anyone in any performing art and I would hardly think that anyone would blame them if they stopped playing. But Larry and his Flask didn't stop – they didn't even miss a beat!

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls took to the stage shortly after 10pm. While rather tame in comparison to Larry and His Flask, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Soul were still quite a sight to behold. People were singing along, clapping and enjoying themselves to their highest limits.

Midway through their set, the Sleeping Souls took a break and Mr. Turner played a few songs on his own - one of which involved Gene Simmons. It’s fairly common knowledge that Mr. Simmons brags about having slept with around 4,800 women and taking a Polaroid of each one, for a collection he keeps in an album under his bed. Sad? Yes. Disgusting? Yes. All of these are things that Mr. Turner in fact, did bring up.

Then he played "Wherefore Art Thou, Gene Simmons?"

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! I was blown away! Frank Turner had managed to take a horrible man, a troll like Gene Simmons and (through song) made him human again. Frank accomplished what no therapist, let alone wizard, could ever do.

This was easily the best show that I have been to within the past 10 years. Jenny Owen Youngs, Larry and His Flask, and Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls are acts that you do not want to miss the next time that they roll through town.