Frank Turner @ Berwick Street 20th April 2013

After my early early stint at Banquet Records Record Store Day it was then off to London. How I was even awake considering how long I had been up for I do not know. My main intention was to see Frank Turner play an 11am slot at Rough Trade East and also look for the Little Boots – Nocturnal Versions release. So I finally get to the store around 10am and I joined the back of the queue which stretched round the corner. An hour later I had got inside. Frank had already started the set, so I just had a quick look through the crates to find there was no Little Boots then I made the decision to leave. My final destination was Berwick Street whom were holding a little music festival which featured the likes of Frank Turner, Smoke Fairies and Gabrielle Aplin. It wasn’t until later on in the day I realised that Aplin had pulled out due to her Laryngitis.

So the first act I wanted to see was Frank Turner. He was 3rd on the bill and was scheduled to take the stage. I first witnessed Turner supporting Green Day back at Wembley Stadium in 2010 and if I am honest I wasn’t bowled over by the performance. But the 30 minute set he performed I rather enjoyed. It made me with I purchased the album at Banquet Records so I could get a ticket for the instore earlier that evening.

“Good afternoon. Happy Record Store Day” Frank said to the packed audience before introducing Matt who accompanied him. Recovery was the opening tune and this had been released especially for this day. This uptempo/ infectious tune went down well with the audience. Recovery was an acoustic folk number with fantastic pacey verses and a powerful chorus which literally hits you full on. “Is everyone having a good Record Store Day so far?” Frank said before launching into If Ever I Stray which was taken from the 3rd LP England Keep My Bones. At first it started as an acapella then Turner started playing the acoustic guitar. That is when everyone started clapping along. This was a pacey number which turned out to be a massive sing along. It felt as this song was an anthem. “This is a song about making bad decisions at an airport bar at 3am in the morning” Turner then said before playing something from the new album Tape Deck Heart and this song being The Way I Tend To Be. This was a catchy song and saw Frank sing about a nameless woman. After plenty of applause Frank Turner played a song just by himself and this was Barbara Allen. The vocals were spine tingling and it was very folk. “Lets play a couple more songs. This is our 2nd show today out of 3. Who was at the show this morning” Frank then mentioned before saying that they were going to play different songs. Up next was another tune taken from England Keep My Bones and this being I Still Believe. Just like If Ever I Stray this sounded like an anthem. Plenty of people were singing along with every single word. I Still Believe was delivered with plenty of gusto and it went down well with everyone who was there to see Turner play. I am actually surprised Frank didn’t lose his voice because he literally belted it out. “Fuck it we’ll do one more new one and then we’ll do a cover and then we’ll leave you be” Turner told the audience before getting stuck into the final new song of the set and this being Losing Days. This song was promising and it makes me want to have Tape Deck Heart within my hands now. The choice of cover was Delilah which was originally sung by Sir Tom Jones. Frank’s take on it was extraordinary and had his very own spin on it. Plenty of people were singing along. Turner owned this song. “Enjoy the rest of your Record Store Day” Frank Turner said before ending with Photosynthesis which featured on the 2nd LP Love, Ire & Song. Now this was utterly contagious and was delivered to perfection . Plenty of people sang along to the chorus “I won’t sit down and I won’t shut up, And most of all I won’t grow up”. Record Store Day is Frank’s favourite day of the year and I definitely would want to see him again at Record Store Day 2014

SET LIST

Recovery
If Ever I Stray
The Way I Tend To Be
Barbara Allen
I Still Believe
Losing Days
Delilah
Photosynthesis

After a set by Matthew E White it was then onto Smoke Fairies. Just like Frank Turner, Smoke Fairies had released Upstairs At United: Vol 6 which consisted of 5 live tracks. The two front women of this folk/ blues band are Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire. This was the 4th time I witnessed them perform live and the short set was superb. It left me wondering why I haven’t been to more of their gigs.

“Hello, We’re Smoke Fairies” Katherine Blamire said to the audience that stayed to watch them perform. First up it was Good Man which was taken from this years Record Store Day release. Even though it featured on the newest release this wasn’t a new song. It actually appeared on a compilation CD back in 2006. Still this was very folk and the vocals were smoky. This was the first time I had heard it and it felt as if Good Man could of easily fitted onto Through Low Lights And Trees. “We’re really happy to be here on Record Store Day” Jessica Davies mentioned before revealing that the opening two songs were from the Upstairs At United EP. Both girls sing The Water Waits and the vocal delivery was sublime. This new track may have had a steady pace but I thought it had been written to perfection. The harmonies were simply incredible both of the girls vocals geld to one another’s perfectly. Katherine then introduced the next number of the set as Feel It Coming Near. This featured on the Blood Speaks LP last year. This was the first time I had heard this live and the vocal performance by Katherine and Jessica was excellent. It also sounded slightly haunting. It was then onto Let Me Know which in fact is the opening track on the Blood Speaks album. This was a cracker of a tune and was catchy at the same time. “We like to thank Sister Ray for having us on this lovely stage and supplying us with lots of free booze” Davies said before they both got stuck into something from Through Low Lights And Trees. The song in question was Strange Moon Rising and there was a strong folk vibe to this song. It was rather upbeat and my favourite part of this number had to be the infectious middle 8 which was in fact the chorus. Once the final words of the song were sung there was a jam for about a minute. This then led directly into a cover of The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary which had been given the Smoke Fairies twist. I have never heard the original before but this version was impeccably delivered.

SET LIST

Good Man
The Water Waits
Feel It Coming Near
Let Me Know
Strange Moon Rising
She Sells Sanctuary

Once Smoke Fairies had finished their stunning set I then decided to vacate my spot at the barrier as I knew Gabrielle Aplin had pulled out. The replacement for Aplin was Georgi Kay and leaving was a massive mistake. I knew Kay had performed at Rough Trade West earlier on but that was it. When I had got home later that evening I found out this Australian songstress has supported the incredible Ed Sheeran.

So I left and I got to the exit and Georgi started singing a song called (if I remember correctly) Problems. I was drawn in and it made me come back to the front to watch the rest of her amazing set. The style of the music that she played was acoustic folk pop which actually worked wonders. “This next song is a love song” Kay said before Right Next To You. This tune was beautifully delivered at a fast pace. The lyrics had been well crafted and were slightly memorable at the same time “Do you need me, Do you see me, Right next to you”. Kay’s soft gravely vocals remind me of another female artist. “This next song. I’m not sure are fans of Silence Of The Lambs but it’s one of my favourite films. It’s about Buffalo Bill who likes skinning women. So hope you enjoy” Georgi said before embarking on Greenskeepers cult hit Lotion. Now Buffalo Bill was the fictitious serial killer in Silence Of The Lambs. In fact this song actually plays homage to him. The chorus of comes from Buffalo Bill’s most recognizable line of dialogue in the film. I have never heard the original version but Georgi’s take was gentle. “This next song is a bit of a Winter Warmer so now that it’s cold I feel it’s appropriate to sing it” Kay said before getting stuck into When I Wake Up. As soon as Georgi started to sing this wonderful song it immediately grabbed me. This number offered plenty of promise and one that I definitely hope will make the record. “This is my last song. Thank you for listening. This song is called Ipswich it features on my AA side vinyl which is out today” Kay then mentioned before Ipswich which was about the Salem Witchhunts. This upbeat song ended what had been a fantastic 5 song set which completely entranced me.

SET LIST

Problems
Right Next To You.
Lotion
When I Wake Up
Ipswich

OVERALL: Even though I was shattered by the time I reached home my Record Store Day was fantastic. I may have been outside Banquet Records for 8 hours but I do not regret that in the slightest. I managed to get all the records I wanted which included David Bowie’s 1965 and Drive In Saturday and The Rolling Stones 5 By 5 EP.

The decision to go up to London stemmed on the fact I couldn’t get Little Boots’s Nocturnal Versions as Banquet did not receive it. If they had it then I would of left for home to get some well deserved sleep. So I went to Rough Trade East queued for an hour which then resulted in me seeing that they had ran out of stock and I then decided to leave instead of watching Frank Turner (the store was packed)

Well what I had witnessed at Berwick Street was highly enjoyable. Last time I saw Frank Turner play I didn’t take to his set but on this very day I was left completely captivated by hearing songs such as the RSD Recovery, If Ever I Stray and I Still Believe performed live. Maybe it was down to the fact it was fully acoustic and the setting was rather intimate. Who knows? Each one of the songs that were played were pure perfection and the take on Sir Tom Jones’s Delilah was extraordinary. Just witnessing it made me wish I had been at the Rough Trade East performance and the one at Banquet Records later that evening. Still I would like to see him again in the future and I will definitely be purchasing a copy of Tape Deck Heart.

Smoke Fairies were flawless as to be expected. Each one of the tunes that were played were absolutely impeccable. The music that they play was folk and this is a genre that I adore. Good Man and The Water Waits were delivered faultlessly. Even though the majority of the set was taken from Blood Speaks (3 out 6) it was really nice to hear Strange Moon Rising which is one of my many highlights from the Through Low Lights And Trees LP. Also the take on The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary was simply brilliant.

Finally onto Georgi Kay. This Australian songstress was my find of the whole festival. Yes it may have been disappointing that Gabrielle Aplin pulled out but I was left entranced by the set that Kay played. It is not that often an artist completely captivates me when I have no prior knowledge of that person. The songs that she sung in this short but sweet set were amazing and it makes me look forward to the prospect of a full length LP. Tunes such as Right Next To You and When I Wake Up were entirely infectious and the flip side to her RSD AA side Ipswich was quite something as well. Now Georgi Kay is someone who I will be keeping tabs on.

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