Frank Turner w/ AJJ, The Bronx, & Pet Needs• July 16, 2022• The Depot
Reviewed and Photographed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert
Concert goers flowed into The Depot on Saturday, July 16th, to see Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, along with Pet Needs, The Bronx, and AJJ. People of all ages, from small children and up, came to enjoy the show!
The band Pet Needs took the stage first on Saturday. The four-piece punk rock band from Essex in the UK came out with a high level of energy that carried through their entire set. They were constantly jumping around! After their first song, “Kayak,” they said that Frank Turner crowds were the best crowds. But that Frank Turner crowds that show up hours early to see the very first opening band were extra special! They mentioned that this was their first time touring in the US. And they said that they always thought it was funny that people always wanted to see the double decker red buses when they came to the UK. But now they understand because they were so excited to see a yellow school bus when they arrived here!
Pet Needs continued with songs like, “Get On The Roof,” “Toothpaste,” and, “Punk Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Up For Sale.” They never slowed down during their time on stage; the band members were jumping and dancing through every song! Everything about the set was so fun to watch from the dancing, to constantly moving and flashing lights. The band’s lead singer even balanced his mic stand in his hand a few times! There were a few times that I saw a cardboard sign with the band’s name, “Pet Needs,” displayed on it. It was a unique touch!
For one of the songs, they asked the crowd to go wild. As they were taking a video to send back home. The crowd delivered and matched the band’s energy and enthusiasm! Pet Needs fulfilled their job by hyping the crowd up. They exuded an excitement that the crowd took on and carried throughout the rest of the night!
The second out of the three opening bands was The Bronx. The punk rock band from Los Angeles, CA started out loud, and only got louder throughout their set! They opened with the song, “White Shadow.” They loved to head-bang as they played. It wasn’t long before the crowd was mimicking that and joining in with them! The lead singer, Matt Caughthran, had the crowd yell, “Yeah!” repeatedly until they were on the level of loudness that he felt rock fans should be at! They continued on by playing songs such as, “False Alarm,” “Heart Attack American,” and, “Knifeman.”
Those against the barricade knew the words to their songs particularly well and matched the energy of the band’s performance on stage! There were a couple of instances where Matt Caughthran would stand on the barricade and hug people while he sang. At one point, he even jumped in the crowd and had the audience form a mosh pit around him. Which they loved! As they moshed, strobe lights flashed over the crowd! It was definitely a first for me to see something like that. I thought it was so cool to watch the crowd having the best time with it! Like Pet Needs, The Bronx also built up a huge level of excitement amongst the concertgoers!
Next up was AJJ! They’re an American folk punk band from Arizona. They opened with the song, “Brave As A Noun.” The crowd was particularly excited for them! So many people were singing along with them right from the get-go! AJJ said that they opened for Frank Turner’s shows back in 2014 while he toured Europe and that they were excited to be back touring with him again! I quickly came to appreciate this band that I hadn’t heard before because a lot of the songs that they sang had meaningful lyrics filled with important reminders and affirmations while remaining upbeat!
One of those resonating lyrics included, “Hating you won’t make you suck any less.” Many of their songs were also pretty quirky and fun sounding, even if their lyrics were a little darker. I think people are really drawn to relatable and tougher songs like that! On one song, in particular, the band noticed how loud the crowd was singing along and happily said, “Yeah, you can sing along if you’d like!” As their set continued, they even had, as they called it, “a country-rock portion,” which the audience seemed especially excited for!
As I watched the duration of AJJ’s performance, I noticed that there were two people who were particularly thrilled to be there. They danced their heart out, and knew every single word to every song! I wasn’t the only one who noticed this. AJJ seemed to, too! They gave them their setlist right before their time on stage was done, and those two people were so visibly happy about it! AJJ ended their set with their song, “Big Bird.” They and the crowd sang a list of lyrics a cappella, all beginning with, “I’m afraid of ______.” It seemed to be very moving for many!
The lights dimmed once again as a song reciting all of the 50 states played. When it ended, the show’s main event, Frank Turner, took the stage in a single spotlight. He opened the set with an acoustic start to his song, “Four Simple Words.” Partway through the song, his band, The Sleeping Souls, joined him on stage in matching white button-down shirts and black pants. The song really kicked up after that! The band members were so enthusiastic and did all sorts of dance moves! The “Four Simple Words” happen to be, “I want to dance,” and they definitely showcased that, as did the crowd!
After the first song concluded, Frank said that they came all the way from England just for that show, which he followed with, “that isn’t true of course, but it sounds good!” He said that the Salt Lake City show was the 39th show of the tour and that they were doing 50 shows, in 50 days, in 50 states. Which he described as, “ill-advised”. I wasn’t surprised. That doesn’t sound like an easy task, but it definitely is a cool goal! Frank mentioned that while he had arrived in Salt Lake the day before the show, the rest of the band and the equipment made it only 40 minutes before the show started! He said that his tour bus driver was very sick the day before when they were in Denver, CO, and he ended up being hospitalized.
Frank hopped on the Bronx’s tour bus in hopes that even if only he could make it to Utah, he would still be able to perform some sort of show, even if it was without the whole band. That morning, the tour bus driver was released at 10 am and made the long drive to Salt Lake City with the rest of the band!
The music continued, and after a few songs, Frank told everyone to get into a large circle. He said, “I don’t want to say I’m judging your state by the size of your circle, but I am 100% judging your state from the size of your circle”. As they played the next song, he had the circle start by moving slowly and as the song went on, he had them speed up! The crowd loved it, and while they were energized before, that only increased their excitement! While the stage lights flashed, the band jumped and danced, and the crowd followed suit! Out of all the concerts I’ve ever been to, I think this crowd was the most energetic, and they showed it through non-stop dancing and jumping, just like the band!
After a few more songs like, “If I Ever Stray,” “Photosynthesis,” and, “Fatherless,” Frank said that the crowd should make sure to enjoy the fact that they are at a live music event, not on YouTube in the comments. Frank introduced a song called, “Miranda,” which is written about his transgender father, who’s now named Miranda. Frank said that for 35 five years, he didn’t have a relationship with his father, but since Miranda’s transition, they have had a great relationship for the last five years! Everyone really seemed to know this one and sang along loudly!
After that song, Frank said that he felt like he loves America more than his American friends do. He said, “I’m not an idiot,” and said that he knows it has its issues that it’s working through. He continued by saying that it’s important that Americans recognize and hold onto the fact that the country still has good people doing good things. I thought that that was a very thoughtful reminder! For the next few songs, Frank played an acoustic set alone. It was filled with meaningful songs like, “Don’t Worry,” and, “Be More Kind.” During, “Be More Kind,” the spotlight that was on Frank divided and turned into multiple beams, and it was beautiful! After that song, the band joined him back on stage and they finished the night out with a few more songs, and continued to be met with high enthusiasm and dancing from all in attendance!
This jam-packed lineup provided such a diverse, yet similar night of music! It was obvious with how fans rotated at the barricade that each band drew in fans that were uniquely theirs, but also actively and excitedly participated in and enjoyed each set! The Never Ending Tour of Everywhere 2022 was a wonderful way for music lovers to spend a Saturday night!