Frank Turner (Solo) - EVENT CANCELLED
Monday 16 March 2020, 7pm - 11pm
My team and I have obviously been following the news like hawks this last week, both at home and abroad, and working day and night to figure out what the best course of action is for upcoming shows. This is super stressful time for everyone, not least in the live music industry, which is facing nothing short of a catastrophe.
Looking at shows in the UK, it is with extremely heavy heart that I must announce that all shows as of now are not going ahead - Norwich, Winchester, Exeter, Liverpool and Nottingham. It’s not sustainable for us to continue, it doesn’t feel like the right decision, for us or for the audience, so we’re heading home. I know some will be disappointed by this - trust me, Micah, Jess and I are beyond gutted. Refunds will be made, and we’ll do our best to reschedule when we can, though right now it’s impossible to say when that might be.
Further afield, in the last couple of days, both Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and countries in South America have announced mandatory 14-day quarantine periods for new arrivals into the country, travel bans, and / or restrictions of live events. For obvious reasons, this means that my shows there, planned for next month, cannot go ahead.
I am really gutted about this, I was very much looking forward to returning to visit my friends there, and to visiting South America for the first time, but there are things in this world more important than my little shows. The gigs are cancelled, and refunds will be made, or are available at the point of purchase. I will do everything I can to get back to your shores as soon as possible, though again right now it’s difficult to say when exactly that will be. We’ll work on booking something in once everything has calmed down.
Other shows next month and for the foreseeable future are of course also something we’re looking at closely, and we’ll make announcements about them as soon as possible, and of course try and do the right thing by everyone. I’m looking into options for some live broadcast shows and fundraising ideas for the parts of the industry that are hardest hit by all this - news when I have it.
In the meantime, let’s all stay safe and healthy, wash our hands, listen to the advice of medical professionals, and be kind and considerate to our fellow humans in this trying time. Peace.?
+ micah schnabel + guise
Over 14s (under 16s to be accompanied by an adult over 18)
£1 of your ticket will be donated to WAYout Arts.
The woman who invented rock’n’roll. A serial killer from the Deep South who plucked her victims from lonely hearts pages. The jazz-obsessed heiress who fought for the Free French. A rowdy coach house landlady from 17th century Camden Town accused of witchcraft. The Wild West vaudeville star shot by a small town outlaw. These are just a few of the fascinating characters to feature on No Man’s Land, Frank Turner’s most original project to date.
“It’s bringing together my two main interests in life, which have always been separate from each other - history and songwriting,” explains Turner, who can be found seeking out long-forgotten historical sites on self-guided psychogeographical strolls when he’s not packing out arenas or headlining festivals.
With 2018 Producer of the Year Catherine Marks at the helm, No Man’s Land is dedicated to the women whose incredible lives have all too often been overlooked by dint of their gender. “These stories should have been told already,” says Turner of the album and its accompanying podcast series. “And I suspect if they were men they would be better known.” Certainly there are a couple of names here that will already be familiar, such as the unparalleled Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Sister Rosetta) and the mysterious Mati Hari (Eye of the Day), but by and large the women who feature have long been ignored by the mainstream.
Less a concept album and more in the same thematic vein as Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads - especially on the creepy tale of murderer Nannie Doss (The Perfect Wife) - Turner started work on No Man’s Land upon learning about the formidable Jinny Bingham (The Ghost of Jinny Bingham) on a sign outside The World’s End pub, then Dodge City singing sensation Dora Hand (The Death of Dora Hand) and bebop patron Nica Rothschild (Nica). Crowdsourcing suggestions for more names to pay tribute to, he was quickly inundated. “I know a lot of very smart people who sent me these huge lists of historically interesting women,” he says of the hundreds he ended up researching, seriously expanding the size of his home library in the process. Experimenting with a different way of writing, the overflowing tap that was Turner’s unfiltered id was switched off and instead he took on the role of student. “It felt a bit like going back to school - but it was so much fun.”
The women featured on the album’s 13 tracks come from across wide geographical and historical lines. There’s Byzantine princess Kassiani (The Hymn of Kassiani), Egypitian feminist activist Huda Sha'arawi (The Lioness), and Resusci Anne (Resuce Annie) an apocryphal drowned virgin whose face was used as the model for the medicial CPR mannequin across the world. “You can’t not write a song about a woman who died never having been kissed and then became the most kissed face in history,” reasons Turner.
Although originally conceived in 2014, global events conspired to throw Turner off course from No Man’s Land. “The world went mad in 2016 and I felt like I needed to respond in a slightly more direct way,” explains Turner, who released the politically charged Be More Kind, which launched his outrage straight into the UK Album Chart Top Three. That’s not to say that No Man’s Land isn’t just as fired up, but despite the record’s implicit feminism, it doesn’t see Turner’s clambering onto any kind of soapbox. “It’s not telling anyone what to do or how to live or how to be,” he explains, prepared for a variety of different reactions to the project, including those who might be wondering if it’s really his place to be singing songs of disenfranchised women. “If there was a crowded field of people writing songs about Princess Kassiani then I would see the argument for me bowing out, but there isn’t,” he states. “No-one else is writing these songs right now. That’s why I want to share these stories.”
No Man’s Land also includes perhaps the most revelatory song of Turner’s career. Written in tribute to his mother, Rosemary Jane honours her grit and determination through the harder parts of his childhood. “It is quite a raw song,” he admits, adding that he felt compelled to ask permission from his mother and sisters to include the track. “But it’s nice about her. It’s not necessarily nice about my dad...”.
Working with Catherine Marks - which Turner calls “an absolute fucking dream” - a dynamic cast of female musicians were bought into the studio to bring the songs to life. There’s strings and piano from Anna Jenkins and Gill Sandell of Emily Barker’s Red Clay Halo band, Lock drummer Holly Madge, Paloma Faith’s bass player Andrea Goldsworthy, Kat Marsh of Choir Noir and a full West End brass section on the jazz-inflected Nica. “That song’s probably got more chords in it than my first album,” deadpans Turner of its complex Thelonious Monk-inspired progressions. On Sister Rosetta too you can hear guitar breaks lifted from Tharpe’s own back catalogue. “Which I found challenging, because she’s a way better guitar player than me,” admits Turner.
It’s an album packed full of similar easter eggs, some of which will only be cracked if you listen to the accompanying podcast. No stranger to appearing on other people’s shows, Turner’s own takes a deep dive into each song, like a sonic Cliffs Notes. Produced in collaboration with Somethin’ Else it sees Turner talking to historians and experts at places important to the women on the record, from Jinny Bingham’s coach house - which is now Camden’s Underworld venue - to Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame which only last year honoured Rosetta Tharpe, the Dodge City’s Boot Hill Museum and Southwark’s Cross Bones graveyard. Each finishes up with Turner singing an acoustic version of the song. “I’m not someone who believes in the supernatural, but there’s definitely an imprint when you’re at the place that was important to them,” says Turner. “It feels like a nice honouring, and a way to say ‘hey, we’re still thinking about you’.”
The first episode of the podcast is available from 3rd July. There will be 13 episodes, releasing weekly and the podcast will be available from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Acast and all other podcast platforms.