Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls w/ Bad Cop Bad Cop and Trapper Schoepp
Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA

By proclamation of Seattle Mayor, Jenny Durkan, September 7th was “Be More Kind Day.” And it just so happens that Frank Turner’s new album shares the same name. The folk-punk rocker from the UK brought his positive spirit and boundless energy to share his message of kindness with the masses at the Moore Theater.

Opening the evening was clever singer-songwriter, Trapper Schoepp. The Wisconsin musician recently signed to Xtra Mile Recordings. He began his set with songs from his concept album, Bay Beach Amusement Park, an ode to his favorite amusement park of the same name in Green Bay. “Scat,” a song about a spinner ride, demonstrated his fun, witty point of view with a story about how a boy lamented, “This is not fun anymore” (which is also what his shirt said).  It wasn’t all about the carnival though, and another standout was “Settlin’ or Sleepin’ Around,” a tune that questioned the instant gratification of modern dating culture. Schoepp got the crowd rolling.

Being a punk rocker, Turner has some ties in the scene. Enter the all-female punk quartet Bad Cop Bad Cop, who were a ball of fire from start to finish. Coming out to “Respect” by Aretha, their impromptu dance party showed off their effortless chemistry. BCBC’s sound is pure, unadulterated punk: fun, free, and bright. “Victoria” featured classic punk rhythms, and “Amputations” told a story of cutting ties with a “vampire of negativity,” with a riff a la “When I Come Around.” There was no shortage of sweaty dancing and jumping around courtesy of BCBC’s extreme joy and fantastic punk rock sensibilities.

With a new album and a headlining world tour, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls have shed their role as a fantastic support band and thrust themselves into the spotlight. Turner and his band have built a following with their brand of punk rock that goes beyond fighting the establishment. He touched upon subjects such as mental health, addiction, heartbreak, political activism, and redemption. Lastly, and the most prevalent reason for their success, his live show was as energetic and passionate as any other artist out there.

Opening his set was a surprisingly mellow tune, “Don’t Worry,” the first track off his new record. It was a departure from his usual set list as he generally starts off with one of his anthems. It wasn’t long until he turned it up a notch with the next song, “1933,” his challenge to today’s generation, reminding them that the world is their responsibility now and to be active in shaping it.

Turner and the Sleeping Souls have been playing together since the beginning and you can tell that through comfort they have together on stage. They are a unit, but also have their own personalities. Ben Lloyd (guitar) is a dancing, smiling machine; Tarrant Anderson plays his bass with authority; Nigel Powell is controlled chaos on the drums, and lastly, Matt Nasir is as aggressive a keyboard player as there is.

It was a well-balanced set that included most crowd favorites but also sprinkled in deep cuts for the more hardcore fans. Foot stomping, mosh-inducing songs such as “Get Better” and “I Still Believe” were the staples that kept fans on their feet. Conversely, one of the highlights of the night was Turner’s solo version of “Wanderlust,” a story of a couple that needed to get away to save their relationship. Turner is a bold man, and there is nothing bolder than covering Nirvana in Seattle, which is exactly what he did with a serviceable cover of “Breed.”

The night revolved around “Be More Kind Day” and Turner reveled in it. He told a story about how he was going to change the world with punk rock, however, as he got older he realized that the chance of that was slim, so he focused on spreading a message of love and kindness.  He imparted that on the crowd and furthered his philosophy with the title track from his new album and the last song, “Polaroid Picture,” a final sing-along complete with the crowd putting their arms around each other.

Show #2237 was a memorable one and truly showed that all of the hard work has paid off. He and his band are cherishing the opportunity to headline a world tour, but have not lost the fun in the process. The hardest working band in rock n’ roll showed that even as they become adults, they haven’t necessarily grown up when they hit that stage, which is why they will probably last 2237 shows more.

Review and photos by Phillip Johnson

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls

Bad Cop Bad Cop

Trapper Schoepp