• Band: Gogol Bordello, Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, Walter Shreifels
• Date: Monday, June 6, with doors at 7 p.m.
• Venue: Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St., www.soulkitchenmobile.com
• Tickets: $30 advance/$35 day of show/$47.50 riser seats; available at Soul Kitchen, its website, Mellow Mushroom (both locations) or by calling 1-866-468-7630
Soul Kitchen is giving the Azalea City an evening of music built on a foundation of exotic folk sounds from across the ocean. New York’s Gogol Bordello will serve as the evening’s headliner. With its trademark gypsy punk sound, this group is certain to be a crowd pleaser. Such a headliner deserves an equally charismatic opening act, and Frank Turner is just the guy to get the job done.
Much like in the United States, many modern acts in Great Britain are laying their rock on a foundation of folk influences. With a legacy that includes time with the post-hardcore outfit Million Dead, Turner embraces the folk sounds of his native England. His original sound melds both folk and rock influences with outstanding results.
For Turner, rock ‘n’ roll was changed forever when Bob Dylan traded his acoustic guitar for an electric. Since then, Turner has felt folk sounds can been found in many rock compositions.
“I think folk music is always there,” Turner said. “I think the irony of popularity and fashionability swings over it, but it never goes away. It’s just whether or not the people who write trendy music are paying attention or not. Folk’s the unpinning of everything in a way.”
Local radio has done a fine job introducing the city to Turner. The single “Recovery” from his 2013 release “Tape Deck Heart” has been embraced by locals. When he arrives in Mobile, Turner will entertain his audience with cuts from his latest album, “Positive Songs for Negative People.” This sixth release from Turner is a profound contrast from his previous solo work, which was intentional. He describes “Tape Deck Heart” as a highly produced album with multiple layers, containing songs that can be a little lengthy. He finds “Tape Deck Heart” both involved and introspective.
For “Positive Songs for Negative People,” Turner turned to his hardcore muses for inspiration. While this album reflects familiar sounds, Turner has also peppered the album with the primal intensity of punk rock. This slight turn from the musical style of his previous five releases has led to mixed reviews. However, Turner takes the negative with a grain of salt. He considers himself the best critic of his own music and is happy with the tracks on this album, which he calls “the best thing that I was able to do in that time and in that place.” He also keeps in mind the critics’ reaction to his last album.
“‘Tape Deck Heart’ didn’t get the greatest reviews when it came out, but it sold more than any other record,” Turner said. “In reviews for the new one, everyone is [saying] ‘‘Tape Deck Heart’ was brilliant, but we’re not sure about the new one,’ which makes me think, ‘Well, f*ck off, then!’”
While Turner’s hardcore background is definitely heard throughout “Positive Songs for Negative People,” his folk roots still resonate. This can especially be seen with the album’s opener, “The Angel Islington.” Gentle string plucks run parallel to heartfelt lyrics as Turner takes his listeners to his home. This song has been called his “love letter to North London,” home to the paternal side of Turner’s family. Until moving to this section of town, his life consisted of nonstop touring and “couch surfing.” A few years ago, Turner decided to take his life in a new direction by settling in this part of town, giving birth to not only this song but also one of the concepts driving this album.
“Part of the vibe of the new record is about turning over a new leaf and new beginnings,” Turner explained. “It’s about trying to move on from the difficult or dark times into something more optimistic.”
When it comes to his live show, Turner finds inspiration in bands such as Sick of It All and Agnostic Front. Each performance has the energy of a punk rock show. However, he also sees performing in this way as an occupational hazard. At a recent show in Belgium, his stagediving antics caused an in-ear monitor to shatter. Luckily, all of the plastic and metal was removed from his head by a skilled local doctor. Turner says the live show is a chance for him to release everything upon his audience. If he has energy left at the end of the show, Turner feels he hasn’t given it his all.