British folk-punk rocker Frank Turner and his backing band The Sleeping Souls played an ultra-high energy set at The Fillmore on Friday night. Entering the stage, Turner wore a personalized Phillies jersey and the crowd went wild. He then shared a story about his experience so far in Philly – explaining how he had to learn “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to sing at the Phillies game earlier in the day. Turner said he was was excited and honored about being the second act to open The Fillmore the night, right after Hall and Oates.
Touring in support of his latest album Positive Songs for Negative People, Turner and The Sleeping Souls played an impressive 23-song set and 4-song encore of new songs and older work off his previous albums. Turner also included a few audience requests in the set. Between Turner’s jersey, his stories, improvisations in songs, and crowd interactions, the set was surprisingly Philly-centric, giving the performance a more customized feel compared to what I imagine his shows in other cities may be like.
During the middle of the set, The Sleeping Souls left the stage so Turner could perform a few songs solo, returning to wrap it up full-band. The packed Fillmore crowd was completely focused the entire night as they sang along, jumped around, and occasionally crowd-surfed. Turner has such a strong following that one couple was seeing its 50th Frank Turner show. Overall, it was a fantastic and memorable night of awesome music.
Opening the show was British folksinger Jay McAllister, better known by his stage name Beans on Toast. He played a solo set while telling hilarious stories in between songs and encouraging the crowd to sing along. Some of his songs were fairly political, including a song inspired by Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and income inequality, and a song about the Paris terrorist attacks, all of which got the crowd riled up.
Next up was British folk band Skinny Lister. The six-piece group played an even mix of lively music off their two LPs. The band members switched between instruments throughout the performance while lead singer Lorna Thomas sang and danced around the stage livening up to performance even more. Later on in their set, they sang a drinking chant and passed around a giant jug down in the crowd. A few songs later, double bassist Michael Camino climbed into the crowd and crowd surfed around with his huge double bass. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen at a show. Skinny Lister’s performance was a drastic change in pace after Beans on Toast and successfully amped up the crowd for Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls.