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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Frank Turner

Frank Turner performed at the Majestic Tuesday night with The Mascot Theory and Chef’Special.

Frank Turner made sold-out show feel intimate

The Majestic was set for a night of folk music and copious amounts of dancing Tuesday night. The Mascot Theory, Chef’Special and Frank Turner put on an absolutely amazing performance. To be perfectly honest it was not what I expected, but was one hell of a good time. As a frequent concertgoer, I’ve never had so much fun at a show before. This show probably had the most age-diverse audience I’ve ever seen. There were kids as young as 12 or 13 there as well as some 20-somethings along with a good handful of people over the age of 40. I know for a fact every single person there had the best time imaginable.

The Mascot Theory, a local Madison band, opened the show. You probably saw them at Freakfest on the Gilman Street stage. Their performance rocked then, but Tuesday night was even better—which I didn’t even think was possible. If you love cool tricks with a stand-up bass, then you would love The Mascot Theory. They have a folk sound with a contemporary twist, plus phenomenal energy and charisma on stage. It’s a pure joyous energy stronger than anything I’ve felt from any other band, and it just kept growing the entire night. You can tell they just love to put their music out there and have a good time which, as an audience member, makes for a wonderful connection and intimate performance, even in a sold-out Majestic.

They played my favorite song of theirs titled “Monterey.” It depicts a soldier falling in love but going to war. It’s really beautiful. It’s amazing as it still embodies the folk style, yet also incorporates a slower tempo. I also found The Mascot Theory to be the perfect opening band for Frank Turner. The band’s front man, Erik Kjelland, has the same yelling-type singing that brings passion and emotion to the song while still retaining musical depth. You should totally check them out—their next album drops Dec. 18.

The next act to hit the stage was a band out of the Netherlands called Chef’Special. If you saw the Dirty Heads at the Barrymore in early September, you got to see them on their first trip to Madison. Unfortunately it was my first time seeing them, and I was not disappointed, though I was shocked at what kind of music was coming out of the speakers. I was expecting another folk band to be up, but instead I was getting a kind of reggae/rap/ska type of vibe. If any of you know me personally, you’re well aware that I absolutely adore that type of music. Though it was not expected, it was refreshing and definitely entertaining. Front man Joshua Nolet even jumped into the crowd and was standing in the middle of the tangled mess of people.

After their set I tweeted to them and ended up getting a chance to spend a few minutes to pick their brains a little bit because, you know, I loved them, and they opened for my favorite band in September. They reminded me a lot of the Dirty Heads, and they took it as the biggest compliment ever when I told them so. Even though I’d never heard of them I was still fangirling super hard because their set was that good. Lead singer Nolet and I bonded over the fact that we both grew up choir nerds. He even revealed to me he wrote raps when he was younger. He wrote his first rap in Dutch at the age of 12 and has been following his musical dreams ever since.

They’ve been in the States since the end of August writing and working on their first studio album to be released under Fueled By Ramen. I was kind of shocked they’ve been here living in hotels and on a tour bus for so long, so I had to find out if they sometimes hate each other, being so close all the time. I was informed jokingly that each person in the band hates someone different every day. I was wondering how they could get an album done while on tour. As it turns out they aren’t actually on tour with Frank Turner. They just happened to be in the area for a one-off kind of thing—luckily for those that attended the show, because they were awesome.

My personal favorite moment of their set was when lead guitarist Guido Joseph crushed a guitar solo. I also enjoyed their opening song “Julie” a lot. I overheard a woman near me say, “I’ve never heard of them, but they kept me entertained the whole time. They’re really good.”  As I left them, I pointed the band in the direction of State Street so they could get the real Wisconsin brews they were dying to try. Be sure to grab their EP, which is on Spotify as well as iTunes, to hold you over until their album comes out.

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls closed out a night to remember. He’s on tour with his sixth solo studio album titled Positive Songs for Negative People. This album got back to his roots in punk for sure. There’s heavy guitar and his trademark screaming angry vocals to go with some really deep lyrics. It’s really amazing and seems to fit the core of who Frank is.

As a disclaimer you guys should know that I am kind of biased. I’m a super fan of Turner’s. I’ve been following him for a little over 10 years now, since right before the dissolution of his punk band Million Dead, and this was the first time I’ve actually gotten to see him live—and he did not disappoint. He’s a crazy man on stage, rarely stopping for a drink of water or even an extra breath. Somehow he even has the energy to keep the guitar going as well as jumping off the drum set and speakers. I don’t know where to start, other than he puts on the most lively, interactive, fun-filled and moving shows I’ve ever attended. It was everything I expected and so much more.

Frank only has two rules at his show: “Don’t be a dickhead, and if you know the words fucking sing.” The audience took this to heart. Everyone became friends with each other, and sang the words to both his new and old songs as loud as physically possible. I felt like I had a huge sold-out family for a couple hours. That’s part of Frank’s mission to put on shows where everyone is included and feels important.

Though Frank is on tour promoting his newest album, he played plenty of his older songs to make sure the crowd got to hear the songs that propelled him into stardom as a solo artist. He played my favorite song ever from his fifth album Tape Deck Heart entitled “Recovery.” It’s his most popular song to date. In the middle of his set, he played a short three-song solo set without his band, The Sleeping Souls. He dedicated the first song of that set to his friend Nick, who lost his life in the Paris terrorist attacks. Let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, including Frank’s. After the most emotional part of the night was over, Frank proceeded back to his usual self, being absolutely ridiculously silly and throwing the f-word around in his cute British accent. Frank even kissed his harmonica player on the cheek, and got personal with his guitarist, Ben Lloyd. Before the encore, Frank took a selfie with the audience to document and be able to prove to his future grandkids that he was “cool once upon a time.”


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Overall, it was a sold-out show made to feel intimate. Every single act was extremely talented and definitely left a mark on the audience. It was literally the best show of my life to date. Not a single person stopped moving the whole night, and we all became a family. There was so much headbanging and dancing, and some amazing sing-alongs that made it feel like a rock concert at some points. If I could relive Tuesday over again I would without question. If you didn’t get tickets, be sure to be on the lookout for the next time these acts appear in Madison again. You won’t regret it.

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