If there’s one thing that can be said about Frank Turner, it’s that he absolutely brims with joy at all times on stage. Of course there are way more things to say about him, but his beaming nature just begs to be mentioned first.
The ebullient British songwriter played the Danforth Music Hall this past Friday night, but before he took the stage he had two homegrown musicians open for him. Hailing from opposite coasts, Mo Kenney and Northcote are in the same vein as Turner and fit in well with the show. Mo Kenney comes from the east coast- Halifax to be precise- and plays a confessional, crisp and clean brand of alternative folk somewhere between Serena Ryder and City and Colour. It was a light, pleasant opening to the show skewing to a more delicate end of Frank Turner’s oeuvre.
Appropriately enough, second opener Northcote was from the west coast (Victoria) and the polar opposite of Mo Kenney; thick, brawny alternative rock- like if The Replacements started to cover Bryan Adams songs. A singer-songwriter like both Turner and Kenney, Matthew Daniel Goud is not shy about his feelings. Heart-on-sleeve lyrics and wistful harmonica peppered the set, which included a guest appearance by Chris Cresswell of The Flatliners.
Frank Turner struck the balance between his two openers, playing both the folksy barroom troubadour and the irrepressible punk rocker. As aforementioned, Turner’s got a knack for singing even the darkest of lyrics with a sense of fun and playfulness. I mean, his biggest hit to date, “Recovery”, is about an especially painful break-up and how to deal with it. Yet it’s a toe-tapping, instantly hummable tune with a bouncy piano and major key hook. It made an appearance in the set, as did his latest single “Mittens”, along with songs from all through his catalogue. In between his songs he took part in fun banter, constantly exalting the virtues of community and positivity. It was a whimsical, good-natured night that celebrated the exuberance of life, and urged the crowd to do the same. They gladly indulged.