English punk and folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner performing on the stage at Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday, June 1, 2024. (Photo by Jess Beck)

JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine

Holy shit, there’s a LOT to unpack here, so I’m going to try and stick to the most important parts of what happened last night.

First of all, Frank Turner doesn’t have a cult.

Frank Turner IS a cult.

As far as I can tell from the fans though, the only rule to get in is to “be nice” so…I guess I can get on board with that in a world filled with such increasing hostilities and nastiness on the internet. But on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at Uptown Theater in MinneapolisMN, a collection of miscreants took to the stage to sing songs about late stage capitalism, Satan, and being a nice person.

First up was Micah Schnabel who was at first a one-person wrecking crew, and then they were joined on stage by Vanessa Jean Speckman who was just as powerful in their own right. It’s rare to see an opening act that held captive an audience comprised of both young and old, punks and old-heads, but it was a fantastic performance as they ripped through songs such as, “Get Rich Quick,” and my personal favorite “4 Vignettes from an American Strip Mall.” These folks really know how to tell a story, and the unique perspective is worth a listen for sure!

Next up was Bridge City Sinners – and I’m still trying to wrap my head around these folks. Fronted by an angry Chesire Cat disguised as a wicked witch cosplaying as a tattooed Americana goth-folk artist, BCS kicked ASS. There was such a unique energy to this collection of unique humans that really spoke to the audience, and their performance was visually stunning as well. With a variety of instruments including an upright bass, violin, it was the perfect compliment to the dark lyrics and brooding storytelling that BCS have become known for as they continue to tour around the country. “Devil Like You,” and “Kreacher” were big hits with the audience. They also received a standing ovation from the balcony, which was awesome to see.

Following BCS was Amigo the Devil – an act that I had heard of previously but wasn’t very familiar with. “They’re like…murder folk,” said one fan I was talking to after I confessed my ignorance. “They sing songs about being in love so much that you kill them. Or murdering anyone really,” the fan continued. Alright, I was hooked. Murder-Folk as a genre? Yes please. Sprinkle in a little bit about drugs and stories about how banjo’s were originally used to cook beans, and you’ve got the perfect storm. Amigo ripped through hit songs, most of which could be categorized as “sing along” with how much the audience finished the songs for him which was really cool to see. This show was a statement for sure on how much Danny Kiranos loves his audience, a masterclass in storytelling, and a reminder that the macabre, the darkness, and wild tales are here to stay. Big hits of the night were “Murder at the Bingo Hall,” “Cocaine and Abel,” and “Hell and You.”

Last but by no means least, Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls took to the stage with thunderous cheers from the audience. Oh yeah, it’s probably worth noting that this was the biggest show in Uptown Theatre’s history to date, and they actually had to release more tickets because the demand was so high. At least that’s what I heard from staff.

The performance was absolutely electric, and there’s not really another way to describe it. I don’t know where Frank gets the energy, but holy smokes…the only other act that I can think of that tours with such consistency is The Devil Wears Prada, but even those dudes didn’t play 300 shows in 15 minutes across multiple states (or whatever the record is now – Frank is insane, let’s just revel in that for a while).

There’s only two rules to my show,” he told the audience. “First rule – be fucking nice! The second rule is that if someone falls down, you stop, pick them up to make sure they’re ok, and then keep raging!

The audience had zero qualms with those rules, it turns out. Kicking off with, “No, Thank You For The Music,” Frank and his band of animated zombies continued to dazzle the audience with a spectacular performance. “Girl from the Record Shop,” “Do One,” and “Ceasefire” were all hit songs with the audience (I mean…they all were really…but again…totally not a cult, and we’re sticking with that) as most of them sang back, so loudly Turner encouraged them to shake the walls of the building.

As always, a HUGE thank you to the amazing staff at Uptown Theatre. Y’all work so hard to make sure that we enjoy these experiences safely, and everyone there is absolutely top-notch. So from the security to the bar tenders to the bathroom staff – we know that these events couldn’t happen without y’all – so we appreciate the effort you put into these shows!

Remember to keep being excellent to one another, keep wearing deodorant to shows, and we’ll catch ya at the next one!

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls

Amigo the Devil

Bridge City Sinners

Micah Schnabel

All images © Jess Beck

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