Frank Turner at Off Broadway, or Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

Off Broadway, St. Louis

image courtesy Julie Dill. New camera phone. Is nice, yes?

I’m no punk. I don’t understand what makes a person think, “This performance is so good, I have to slam into a stranger to properly convey how excited I am right now.” But I’ve been to some crazy shows where I’ve gotten hit, punched, kicked, and pushed. I’ve had beer spilled on me, beer poured on me, entire cans of beer tossed at me (not on purpose, but still). I’ve been to a few shows where I’ve feared for my personal safety, and at least one of them, I left a few songs in to keep from winding up a casualty of the pit. Last night, however. Last night was the first time I’ve ever feared for my life with a smile on my face.

Image courtesy of Julie Dill.

If you weren’t standing near the center of the wooden part of the floor at Off Broadway, you just don’t know how close you were to ending up on the news. Yes, Frank Turner and his entire band, with their coordinated collared button down shirts translucent with sweat, gasped for breath in the thick heat of the room. Everyone in the room and even up in the balcony heard the British folk punk band plow through seventeen gorgeous songs of protest, pride, agony and angst, and they all heard Turner serve up a steady stream of faultless witty banter between his bad ass bar songs. But what you couldn’t know if you weren’t on that floor near center stage, was that every single time a song got loud, the fucking floorboards bowed like they were made of rubber. At least eight times, I fully prepared myself for the inevitable chaos that would ensue when my sober ass crashed into the basement with all these drunken bastards.

image courtesy Julie Dill.
And yet, I never considered leaving. As everyone around me shouted lyrics, punched the air (and my head, by accident) and waved their cans of PBR in the air, I absorbed the pushes and shoves with glee. When the encore was over and the band left the stage, my socks were soaked with spilled beer and I had a buzz from the leftover adrenaline rush you only get when you think for a few minutes you might die. No, it wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten beat up at a show, but it was indeed the first time, and probably the only time, I’ve ever enjoyed it. It was Mardi Gras, in a city named after a French saint, in the middle of middle America. It was the night before Christians have to admit their mortality and start the soul cleansing Lenten season, and Frank Turner got a hundred plus people to clap and sing THERE IS NO GOD.

Yeah, 2012. Top That Shit.

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