This past Friday night, The Ogden turned from a Denver concert hall, with concrete floors and echoing walls, into an intimate, British tavern, filling fans with ready-to-drink, almost-cold beer while stamping in time to base heavy, punk rock melodies from across the pond.
Beans On Toast, a British folk singer from Essex whose real name is Jay McAllister, played a few relaxed yet informative songs to warm the crowd up. He’s a comedian who wants to educate and is wicked talented with a guitar. Beans On Toast made us realize that life’s not all about money, possessions or power, but about the people we’re with and the experiences we’re sharing. He was the perfect opening for the next two bands.
Skinny Lister, another British folk styled group, packed the stage with a huge stand up base, accordion, and giant jug of rum. This is a band that comes alive with a stage performance. This is a band whose energy only increases throughout the show and comes to a giant powerful finish during the encore. The lead singer and incredibly talented front woman, Lorna Thomas, is a tremendous amount of fun bursting from a tiny body cloaked in a feminine flowered dress. If she wasn’t zipping between band mates singing along beside them, she was waltzing with the audience or standing atop the stand up base posing for final pics. Skinny Lister played a ton of original songs, including “John Kanaka”, which made every sole in the place pound the ground in time to the beat, and really heavy and intense “This is War” that made The Ogden sound like it was an ancient tavern nestled in between cobbled alleyways. Skinny Lister’s bassist even took a stage dive, stand up base in hand, for a good old-fashioned crowd surf. We were sad to see them leave the stage but already pumped for Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls to perform.
After what seemed like a pretty long intermission, The Sleeping Souls cooly took their places, the lights dimmed, and the band started playing. From stage left, Frank Turner came on playing “Get Better” to a screaming, jazzed audience who felt the beat and sang along immediately. After a solid opener, the band followed with “If Ever I Stray” – a serious crowd favorite. Mr. Turner informed us that earlier that day, he shaved his beard and now feels like a prepubescent tween. Well Frank, we’d respectfully disagree. He still has that boyish charm and convincing smile, beard or no beard.
Between performances of some of his most stellar songs like “Peggy Sang the Blues” and “Josephine”, Frank told us he had only two rules for his shows. “Everyone’s got to be nice to each other and if you know the words to a song, you’ve got to sing along.” Check and check. Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls had us arms interlocked, shouting “Wessex Boy” in each others ears. They played their greatest hits and some lesser known songs. It really was a performance for new Frank Turner fans, and die hard originals that had been with him since Million Dead. Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls concert was one that embodied classic punk rock with a modern twist.
They kept up an enthusiastic, energetic performance throughout the entire show. After “Photosynthesis” the audience obviously begged for an encore. Expecting the usual two song delivery, we were delighted beyond belief to hear songs we thought we wouldn’t get to. Turner included “Songs for Josh”, “The Way I Tend to Be”, and “I Still Believe” in his four song encore, deciding to send us off on our own adventure with one of best loved songs. Dressed in black pants, skinny ties, and sweat soaked white shirts, the band finished their performance with “Four Simple Words” and boy did we dance.