May 13, 2017
In 2017, Lost Evenings festival was launched, named after Frank Turner’s 2012 album Last Minutes and Lost Evenings. Along with four headline Frank Turner shows at The Roundhouse, supported by a range of his favourite bands and Xtra Mile Recordings label mates, there was a weekend of free music at Camden venues: the Last Minutes part of the festival.
Here’s a chronicle of the Saturday at The Monarch and The Roundhouse, featuring Rob Lynch, Harry Pane, Recreations and Romeo Stodart.
“Like David Brent fronting a Frank Turner tribute band”
An outside observing witnessing Rob Lynch’s self-deprecation and misunderstanding the playful insults from Sam Duckworth (of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and Recreations) could be forgiven for thinking that Lynch was new to the live music scene. However, the only outside observers were those watching forlornly through the window because they couldn’t get in. The Monarch pub was packed with people who had sensibly turned up hours early for a performance that they knew was going to be good.
Lynch started out with his ‘bones series’ – Broken Bones followed by Selfish Bones. He admitted that he “really, really hated 2016 – personally, politically, everything.” New songs spoke to that. Red Lion Square was a touching open letter about depression. He was among friends and fans so felt able to open up. They were relieved to hear him doing better through the lyrics of Better Man, and to see it from Lynch’s irrepressible grin.
His performance with Sam Duckworth was joyful, Plans was sweetly sung, and the fans were more than ready to sing and shout along to Baby, I’m A Runaway and End of The World.
“Hope you have a good night. I know I will!”
Over on the Roundhouse’s Nick Alexander stage, Harry Payne performed with a stompbox and electro-acoustic guitar, surrounded by James Morrison style chocolatey vocals.
Highlights included Mama Blues and Fletcher Bay. He explained that it was an area of New Zealand that held a special place in his heart, having visited it with his father, and then later scattered his ashes there.
“Just give me as much of everything as you can”
Sam Duckworth’s request was to the sound tech, but may as well have been to the crowd at The Monarch waiting to see his Recreations incarnation. They eagerly obliged, roaring into life as soon as he struck the first chord and announced “Good afternoon, Frankfest!”
He was taken aback by the rapturous reception: “I don’t even know why I bothered to learn how to sing it! Shit, you know the actual words!” They had his back, too. “Shout out to the shushers!” he joked, as they kept the peace for a quieter Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly tune, In Good Time.
He stopped at one point to admit “I can’t stop looking at that portrait of the cross-eyed king.”
More often, though, his observational skills are focused on everyday life, politics and injustice. Therefore, he took a break from his “singalong songs” to stress what was important in the weeks before a general election: “it’s important to be engaged…people died so you can vote.”
He had a robust response for people who criticise musicians for speaking out: “without politics, we’re just feral.” Duckworth touched on worsening race relations, especially post-Brexit: “I believe in the fact that the colour of my skin should not effect my ability to be a human being.” He shot back in a song with a rousing version of Glass Houses, expressing pride in his heritage. Rising was another powerful anthem.
Duckworth’s strongest plea was reserved for the NHS: “free at the point of need, run by dilligent and passionate people. That concept was invented in this country, it stays in this country and it dies in this country in an NHS bed.” With a roar of agreement from the crowd, he launched into an epic rendition of Built To Last. We could only wish politicians were as passionate and erudite about the things that truly matter. Since the show, Duckworth has used that zeal to campaign for justice and accountability for the survivors of the Grenfell fire.
That’s not to say that the music was secondary. Between Libertines style guitar work and powerful singing, he had time to say what everyone was thinking: “This festival is fucking awesome and it absolutely needs to happen all the time…these are the moments we’re living for.”
More specifically, he spoke of his pride of being part of the wider Xtra Mile family since 2003. He waxed lyrical about getting to know Frank Turner during his Million Dead days, and threw in a gentle dig at his newest labelmate: “I was 15 years old which, for a frame of reference, is Sean McGowan’s age!” The feeling was mutual as an Xtra Mile alum yelled out song titles. The response was swift: “Rob Lynch, the ultimate troll. Dude, I ain’t playing that!”
“My son really likes lions”
It just wasn’t possible to leave early while Recreations was putting on a show like that. Despite running to The Roundhouse’s Nick Alexander stage at full speed, Romeo Stodart’s set was already in full swing.
It was about to get magical. His adorable young son confidently took the stage to croon Strangers In The Night. It really was a family affair as Romeo’s sister (and Magic Numbers band mate) Michelle proudly congratulated and collected her nephew at the end.
The performance was super chilled with lovely soft vocals (especially in Damned Anyways), bluesy elements and a little good-natured sarcasm for good measure.
For some, it was time for a storming Frank Turner headline show in the main hall at The Roundhouse. For others, it was time for a well-deserved rest before another day of free entertainment around the venues of Camden
Missing it or missed out? No need to worry! Last Minutes is back for 2018! Check out the Lost Evenings website for details. Simply choose each date at the bottom of the page to see what treats are in store!