Live review – The Gathering – Cheese and Grain, Frome. 07/08/2021

Saturday night saw the first run of the non-socially-distanced ‘The Gathering’ shows, from Frank Turner. A run of smaller, let’s-play-a-show type gigs, these were originally planned to be the first show’s post lockdown. As everything else over the last 16 months has shown, that didn’t quite happen, but I’m sure everyone there had a great time.

When I arrived in Frome, before seeing the first act on stage I had the opportunity to catch up with Frank about everything that had happened over the last 16 months. You can catch our interview here.

The evening saw a loaded bill, including local acts Semantics and Borts, Dave McPherson, Guise, Pet Needs, Skinny Lister, and of course a Frank Turner/Matt Nasir duo set.

Semantics were a great way to open the afternoon, and followed by Borts set the tone for what was going to be a killer night.

Dave McPherson, an artist I’ve heard of but never taken the time to listen to did an amazing job with his set, playing a mix of songs from his solo work, covers from his band InMe, and even a Bon-Jovi cover to bring it to a close. Another favourite discovery of mine.

Up next was Guise, performing as a duo set. I last saw Guise as a solo act, in Bath, March 2020, just after the release of their debut EP. Since then, I feel both the performance on stage and the crowd reaction has improved massively. Jess has definitely come out for her shell as a performer, and was talking to the crowd like a seasoned pro, even getting the crowd to sing along!

After this was Pet Needs, another new band for me, these guys have gone from strength to strength since being picked up by XtraMile Recordings. Saying they rocked that stage would be an understatement. All four of the band were full of energy, bouncing around the stage (and I think there would have been stage dives if it was allowed). Another band I would seriously recommend checking out if you haven’t already.

Now, for those who have already seen the photography gallery from Saturday, it was after Pet Needs that the lighting changed on stage, and became so much darker.

Skinny Lister took stage as the last support set for the night, performing as a three piece. Although there were a few technical hitches along the way, they played an awesome set, including getting ‘Party George’ up on stage near the end (that’s one for the older fans).

And then it was time for the main act of the night, performing as a duo with Matt Nasir.

Frank played a massive 20 song set, spanning almost every album (nothing from No Mans Land though). We were greeted with Don’t Worry, one I’ve not seen as a set opener before, as well as hearing Father’s Day (first time for me) and The Opening Act Of Spring.

The crowd were on their feet and moving for the whole of his set, filling in for the sing-alongs (and parts Frank forgot the lyrics). For a lot of people, this would have been their first gig in at least 17 months, and all that energy they have been saving was let out on this evening.

We were also treated to two new songs in the setlist – The Work and Fatherless. The Work is a happy song about marriage and Fatherless, a slightly less happy, angry punk song about Frank’s relationship with his father, one that links nicely to Father’s Day.

The on stage chemistry between Frank and Matt really helped make the show that night. The jokes, crowd interaction and shared good times is always part of a Frank show, and this was no different.

Somehow there was also time for some covers that night, including Simply Red (Matt’s favourite band), Fine Young Cannibals (if these two can really be called covers), and what is probably Frank’s most popular cover – Queen’s Somebody To Love.

Of course The Gathering was played, first song of the ‘encore’. And the set was brought to a close by the classic singalong I Still Believe. Everyone was singing along with the “hear ye” and “I still believe”, and brought the night to a wonderful close.

And that concluded The Gathering. A really nice way for a lot of people to get back into the live music scene, and hopefully a signal of more good music to come.

Frank Turner’s new album FTHC is due for release next year via XtraMile Recordings.

I’s like to thank Frank and the team at XtraMile for inviting me along to the show, and can’t wait for what is next to come!

Frank Turner interview here.

Full gallery here.

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