Show Preview: Frank Turner, The Warfield – Sunday June 17

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Frank Turner has had a surprisingly varied life for a musician in his mid-30s. He’s now known as a folk-rock troubadour – the word is old fashioned but perfect for his mixture of storytelling, whimsy, politics and heart – but his roots go all the way back to early-noughties British hardcore act Million Dead, who burned brightly but briefly before splitting up in the middle of their first major European tour.

Turner’s DIY punk esthetic carried him off tour and into a self-sufficient swirl of solo touring and releasing records on a dizzying schedule, starting with 2006’s Campfire Punk Rock and not stopping as it span through national and international tours, tiny pubs, mid-level venues, and the surreal experience of playing at the start of the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, to a stadium holding 80,000 people in front of an audience of hundreds of millions.

Anyone who plays acoustic folk with a Black Flag tattoo on his wrist is worth more than a second look, and Turner’s been refining his forthright, heartfelt, insistent sound ever since. His latest studio album Be More Kind has been getting a lot of attention. In its pre-release review, NME gave the album 4 stars out of 5, and wrote “Frank remains one of our most consistently punchy, stirring and chaff-free songwriters – now, finally, with Something To Say Again.” MusicOMH also lauded the artist: “The record is refreshingly honest and delivers a timeless message with passion and plenty of anthemic hooks. What more could you want from a Frank Turner record?”

This album follows close on the heels of Songbook, which was a fan-favorite compilation that included the artist’s old and personal favorite numbers, along with some rerecorded and unreleased versions of old songs.

Turner is on tour with his band The Sleeping Souls, featuring Ben Lloyd on guitar, mandolin and harmonica, Tarrant Anderson on bass, Matt Nasir on the piano, organ, guitar, and Nigel Powell in charge of the drums and percussion. It’s a growth from his early days (in which he defiantly sang ‘the only person in my band is me’), but it’s borne fruit. Frank Tuner and the Sleeping Souls are touring the world to promote Be More Kind. The tour began in April in the UK, before returning to North America. And on the 17th of this month, Turner and the Sleeping Souls are playing The Warfield, the classic venue on Market Street.

We’ve raved about The Warfield before, and it’s a perfect venue for Turner’s style – it has exceptional audio quality, a stately yet intimate setting, and a generous seating capacity of over 2,000. Expect a fan-friendly set list drawing from more than a decade of recordings, including 2007’s debut longer-player Sleep is for the Week, 2008’s followup Love Ire and Song and his breakout record, Poetry of the Deed, from 2009. As an aficionado of California’s punk history, and musical history in general, there’s a decent chance of a cover or two of some of the state’s classic songs as well. One thing’s for sure: this is a show you don’t want to miss.

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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