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Frank Turner, Ciaran Lenehan

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ATL | 12:54 UK time, Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Frank Turner, Ciaran Lenehan
The Stiff Kitten, Belfast 
17th September 2011

After a change of venue from the Mandela Hall, The Stiff Kitten proves to be a great choice for tonight’s gig, large enough to accommodate the extra crowds, while still retaining an air of intimacy. Singer songwriter Ciaran Lenehan eases us nicely into the evening with a short set of acoustic folk. Things are a bit slow to start with, but by his second song, and with the venue evidently filling up, he gets the crowd into the swing of the night, playing out his heartfelt acoustic tunes, getting heads moving and the crowd ready for the main attraction of the night.

His lack of preciousness about his songs is refreshing, endearing him to the audience even further, oddly named numbers such as "One Journey Left" (about a multi-trip bus ticket that was given to him with one journey left on it) making him and his music very interesting.

But the night ultimately belongs to Frank Turner and his band The Sleeping Souls. 


Arriving on stage to massive cheers, it’s not your regular rock’n roll gig; it’s got a chilled vibe about it, but nonetheless the crowd are enthusiastic and eagerly anticipating the night of good times and music ahead.

With his short ‘Eulogy’ intro followed by ‘Poetry of the Deed’, Turner’s music is inspiring, about doing what you want and - however clichéd it may sound - following your dreams. As he carries the crowd along in mass sing-alongs throughout the night, it’s clear to see that this isn’t just Frank Turner’s job, but his life too. 

Musically, Turner’s sound is rooted in an acoustic folk tradition, but it doesn’t stop some heavier influences coming through with several tunes having a firm rock edge. 
The ninety minute set is a triumph of infectious choruses, playing through songs from his latest album,England Keep My Bones with a whole host of Love Ire & Song favourites thrown into the mix, as well as a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s classic ‘Thunder Road’ and Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’. 

Tonight was a reminder that, despite his recent success, Frank remains rooted and grateful for what he has. After signing off with the rousing ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ and ‘Photosynthesis‘, he returns to his natural habitat: the road.

It is where he feels most comfortable, after all.


Lucy Rehill




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