Manchester Academy 1
Turner started his career in 2001 as one fifth of the punk outfit Million Dead, and his hardcore origins lace his brand of folk with an edgy flavour that sets him apart from folk peers Mumford and Sons and Ben Howard. This punk influence is out in full force on Friday night, carrying the rest of the show with an impressive momentum. It brands Turner’s performance from roaring opening number ‘4 simple words’ and crashes through the rest of his set. Punk even rears its head in the audience, peppering the stereotypical teenage and middle aged Mumford lover crowd with grungy pierced types who would look more at home at a Black Sabbath tribute act. And this punk spirit is no bad thing, it’s a lot of fun, it’s playful and while Turner has not experienced the mega fame of Mumford and the likes, his style is fresher and a whole lot more exciting.
Manchester is Turner’s first English tour date, fresh from a string of American shows, and the crowd is itching with the excitement of it. 2008 hits ‘Substitute’ and ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘The Real Damage’ send his fans into a frenzy. But, ‘Four Simple Words’ aside, numbers from new release Tape Deck Heart (out 22 April) prove to be lot less punk, a lot more folk. The crowd notably quiet and the jumping stops for more mellow new album numbers, ‘The Way I Tend to Be’ and ‘Good and Gone’.
Tape Deck Heart is less coarse, less catchy and more reflective than past albums and this may be attributed to the input of new record label, Polydor, and a bid to crack America following his performance at the Olympics opening ceremony and last year’s sell out Wembley show. But despite a more mainstream album approach, Turner is still the fame outcast his fans love, joking about recent interviews, ‘you speak to a guy who thinks this is your debut album, and you think fuck you man’.
The punk influence has mellowed and gap between Turner and Mumford has definitely narrowed with this latest album but he still puts on a brilliantly charismatic performance and his impressive vocals live make me finally understand Springsteen comparisons. If you like Turner, you’ll love him live.