Arriving at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton on a bitterly cold night, the queue stretched around the building in anticipation of another sold-out show by Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls as part of The Never Ending Tour Of Everywhere Tour.
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls – The Lottery Winners
KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 21st January 2023
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
When the lights went down, and Frank walked out with his acoustic guitar and started Recovery, the KKs crowd went wild, and everyone seemed to know every word to this and every other song throughout the evening. His brand of infectious Folk / Punk coupled with thoughtful lyrics is a powerful, amazing sound that has everyone dancing, jumping and singing.
Next was Try This At Home, after which he said that he had three new New Year Resolutions. “First is don’t be a dickhead, second is to be kind to each other and third, which came to me last night, is more circle pits.” Asking for a circle pit to be formed, he jumped straight into Photosynthesis.
It was then into three songs from his new album FTHC [Frank Turner Hardcore] in Non Serviam, My Bad, and Haven’t Been Doing So Well. By now, the sweat was dripping from Frank’s head, and he was in full swing backed by a really tight band featuring Ben Lloyd on guitar, and mandolin, Tarrant Anderson on bass, Matt Nasir on piano and drummer Callum Green.
The set was proving to be a mix of old and new, and the crowd loved it. Back In The Day, Sleep Is For The Week, The Road, Little Changes, Punches, Untainted Love and Plain Sailing Weather followed, track after track which were short, sharp and to the point. This was turning into an amazing evening.
“This is gig 2725,” Frank said, “and the tenth in Wolverhampton, but we have not played here for ten years.” After almost every collection of songs, he was storytelling or giving anecdotes making the evening feel really intimate.
This was helped when Frank was alone on stage playing three amazing versions of Journey Of The Magi, The Way I Tend To Be and crowd favourite, Thatcher Fucked The Kids.
Turner welcomed his band back on stage and really upped the ante with The Next Storm, Out Of Breath before finishing with I Still Believe. The KK’s crowd was not prepared to go home yet and were rewarded with a blockbusting finale. The encore consisted of A Wave Across A Bay, the fantastic 1933, Get Better and Four Simple Words.
Two things to put onto your bucket list for 2023 are to go and see Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls because you will not be disappointed. You will sing, dance, clap and generally have a wonderful evening. Second, get to a gig at KK’s Steel Mill because this place is one of the best live venues in Britain.
The Lottery Winners
There were meant to be two support slots for this gig. However, the singer of Wilswood Buoys had lost his voice, which meant we were treated to a little bit more by The Lottery Winners. These guys are really putting the hard yards in, supporting where they can and gaining a well-deserved reputation as a great live band after many years of gigging.
Led by the self-deprecating vocalist Thom Rylance they kicked off with Worry before going into Favourite Flavour. Their wonderful mix of rock and pop are the perfect openers to get the crowd warmed up, plus Thom’s quirky manner gets everyone in a good mood.
Next is Sunshine, followed by Much Better. Thom is backed by a brilliant band in guitarist Robert Lally, bassist Katie Lloyd and drummer Joe Singleton. The KK’s crowd loved it and got the chance for a sing-a-long with Emerald City that melds into a version of The Housemartins Caravan Of Love.
The set ends with The Meaning Of Life, then a track they recorded with Frank Turner, Start Again. We got to see a bit longer set from The Lottery Winners, and we were all glad we did.