Lovers of live music, It’s pop quiz time!

What do a random Corona-drinking Spanish singer named Oscar, a convulsing fiddle player/Boerne schoolteacher with a tattoo of an octopus tentacle, and a slightly intoxicated young ingénue engaging in a public crash course in harmonica all have in common?

These were all just a few of the colorful characters that took the stage during Frank Turner’s performance on Monday night at Emo’s.

Turner’s music can best be described as what would happen if a mix of Bob Dylan, Flogging Molly, and The Clash was brewed on tap and served to a crowd of roughly 70 rowdy Austinites. With lyrics exploring existentialism, revolution, disillusionment, and loss, his music far transcends the immature styling one would expect from an artist leading a hybrid genre labeled “British Punk Folk”.

Turner carefully toed the line between hope and cynicism as he sang of the idealism of youth and consequential disillusionment. There’s nothing quite like shouting lyrics of rebellion while drunken Limeys drizzle Lonestar on your shoulder to bring you back to your teenage punk phase and a feeling of infinite invincibility.

Image courtesy of AV Club Austin
By confronting the audience like friends, not fans, Turner created the feeling of an intimate weekend house party. Part of this rapport included giving a harmonica solo to a fan, telling the story behind his tattoo of Texas, accepting shots from the audience, and admitting outright that he wasn’t found of “ the whole pretend to walk off thing and wait for an encore”.

Instead, Turner ended his set with three rousing numbers while gracefully thanking every member in his band, including his charismatic drummer, Nigel Powell, (a Michael Stipe doppelganger indeed!).

Also featured in the encore was a fan named Oscar, invited to take the stage and translate the final song in Spanish, and opening act Conrad White (stage name “Possessed by Paul James”) who returned to contribute his manic fiddling skills.

However, as much as a humble pop culture blogger may try to capture the magic of Turner’s performance tonight at Emo’s, no one can quite express the evening like Turner himself. As stated in his final song of the night, “Photosynthesize”:

“Now I’ll play, and you sing- the perfect way for the evening to begin. I won’t sit down, and I won’t shut up, and most of all I won’t “grow up”.”

Emo’s is located at 603 Red River St


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