It’s a Saturday evening and it’s time for a dance. Luckily, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls have come to assist us with their upbeat ‘The Never Ending Tour of Everywhere 2022’ show, and we’re not left disappointed. Frank’s gigs are always brilliant, and are always upended by 2 rules. 1 – don’t be a dick. 2 – if you know the words, sing along. Pretty good rules to live by. We’re lucky to witness this on a Saturday evening, meaning no work for most tomorrow. I’m no stranger to a Frank show, now needing to use all fingers and some toes to count them on, and I’m never left disappointed.

It's an early show this evening, with a 10pm curfew the band come on just before 8pm to a sold-out downstairs audience, firing into three energetic numbers with ‘Four simple words’, newer song ‘The gathering’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ before allowing us to gather our breath and for the band to greet the crowd. The audience are captivated as always. The loyalty Frank’s fans show is hard to put into words, but everyone there seems to know every word, knows when to jump up and down, knows when to be quiet and respect a quiet song. They always seem like good people and are happy to chat before/after a show.

We’re always lucky in Oxford. As Ben and Tarrant from The Sleeping Souls are from the City I’m sure that’s why we usually get to see Frank during a tour. During the evening when the band were introduced to the crowd, Frank made a point of telling us it was new drummer Callum Green’s first show in Oxford with the band, who had a fine show. Although it was the first time I hadn’t seen local drummer Nigel Powell holding things together which took a bit of getting used to.

Unlike some bands who would tour a new record and maybe sprinkle in one or two older tracks to try and keep fans happy, Frank Turner has taken a different approach. It now seems that he is still playing all of the old favourites (although did miss of one of my favourites ‘I am disappeared’) but then sprinkling in the newer tracks into the evening. Special mention goes to the extremely quiet crowd during ‘A wave across a bay’ which as Turner explains before the song has a deep meaning to him and the audience showed the total respect it deserves.

Frank explained before newer song ‘The Work’ he had written it as a folk song for his wife Jess which she really enjoyed, before jovially telling us he then added bass, drums and guitar and it was then unrecognisable. A strong end to the evening featured classics ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’, ‘Recovery’, ‘Try This at Home’ and ‘I Still Believe’

The evening ended up being a total of 25 tracks, which is an amazing way of thanking the fans for turning out. The newer tracks sounded great, proving why ‘FTHC’ was his first UK number one album in nine attempts.

Photo Credit: Russ Fujak