Gig Review: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls / Pet Needs / Truckstop Honeymoon – O2 Academy, Oxford (24th September 2022)

Truckstop Honeymoon (c) Shells

After a long lockdown-enforced break Frank Turner returned to Oxford to play to a sell out crowd at the 02, and this time he returned with a number one album under his belt. I along with the rest of the crowd waiting outside before 5pm on a Saturday were more than a little excited to be there. Getting there early was definitely worth it as the husband and wife openers Truckstop Honeymoon charmed the crowd with their bluegrass, country/folk Americana interspersed with stories about them and their life back home in Kansas. I totally fell in love with them and would go out of my way to see them again.

After their all-too-short set we moved on to Pet Needs. It was clear that a good chunk of the crowd had come to see them by the many, many t-shirts bearing their name and the surge of people to the front. This was the first time I had heard or seen them and the band’s energy was infectious. I and the rest of the crowd lapped up the anthemic rock sounds that are guaranteed to be gracing slots higher up the bill very soon.

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Pet Needs (c) Shells

For the main event and after what seemed like forever Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls took to the stage, opening with one of my favourites: “Four Simple Words”. Genuinely a song that changed my outlook a good number of years ago. This is most certainly my culture and I sure wanted to dance.

Damn it feels good to have Frank back in my hometown. The hits keep coming and the crowd keeps getting louder as in Frank Turner’s own words “This is a participation event”. It felt like old friends meeting new ones who joined in with the sole purpose of having a good time.

Frank Turner (c) Shells

By the time we got to the classic “If I Ever Stray” I was already hoarse from screaming my lungs out. Frank Turner back doing what he does best and at the end of the encore we had had lived through 25 fantastic tracks from his entire catalogue.

You know what? We all most certainly “Still Believe”.

Frank Turner gets better each time I see him, and I can’t wait until next time we get to participate in his uplifting positivity and ability to see beauty in even the darkest of moments.

Thank you Frank, Your music has kept me going through the last two years and I damn well hope I don’t have to wait two more to see you again!

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Pics by Mark Shelley

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