It’s a Friday night in Dublin, a lot of regular weekend music revelers are spending the weekend in a field in Stradbally in Co. Laois. They have been replaced by droves of College Football fans who are in town for a Notre Dame and Navy NCAA game. It’s also the first time in seven years that indie heroes, Turn, will take to the stage.
Halfway through August, it was announced that the band would play Electric Picnic but less than 48 hours before the quartet took to the stage, word filtered across the interwebs that they would play a free warm up gig in Whelan’s of Wexford St.
Doors opened at 9pm and a steady flow of punters piled into the venue. There was a joyous atmosphere as the lights were lowered. As they walked onto stage, Turn received a warm welcome from the up-for-it crowd. ‘Never Needed’ opened proceedings and within seconds you’d wonder if these guys ever stopped playing together. ‘Beretta’ was quickly followed by ‘Antisocial’ the audience singing along to the ‘Babababa’ refrain. The band drop their sound, just so the audience is heard. They look comfortable on stage, lead singer, Ollie, gives a knowing glance and smile to Gavin (bass) and Ciaran (guitar). They were supposed to be there, doing this and getting this adulation from the Whelan’s crowd.
This really was a ‘greatest hits’ set and with three albums of material, there was no shortage of crowd pleasers. The quality of the songs still shines through, the melodies and the instrumentation proving Turn still to be one of the best Irish bands of the past fifteen years. While it may be a slightly nostalgic trip, Turn still show themselves to be relevant. ‘Summer Song’ still sounds as good as it did nine years ago.
There’s still the banter from the stage, Ollie Cole giving a shout out to the ‘Kells Massive’ and remembering then that two of the band are actually from Dublin. He also introduces the audience to his new wife Claire and invites her on stage for a little peck.. he’s smiling like a cheshire cat.
The popularity of the band cant really be called into question on tonight’s showing. With no promotion Whelan’s is full and everyone still singing along. The singing changes to a chant during ‘Queen of my Heart’. One word, ‘Iano’, fills the venue, as drummer Ian Melady’s solo vocal lines begin.
‘Beeswax’ gets an airing as Cole describes it as fun to play, it seems like the whole band are having fun anyway. ‘Another Year Over’ ends the eleven song set. Something special had happened, the audience know it and shout for one more tune. There is to be none. That’s it, it’s over. Going on the performance and the audience reaction, this cannot be the end for Turn. Here’s hoping it’s a rebirth.