POETRY OF THE CROWD: TALES OF LOST EVENINGS 3 Part Four
For many, each of the previous Lost Evenings has been more about the people we meet and the friends we make, and this year was no different. And for this reason we have decided to write a reflection, not on the gigs, but on the people and their stories that have made the festival so special.
There’s a faith and expectancy that any Lost Evenings is going to be a hell of a good time for everyone going which previous LE’s have paved the way for. So when you hear about someone not having a great time it kind of takes people by surprise. Hopefully, that person perseveres through the lows and comes out the other side singing and dancing to have one of the greatest nights of their lives. Thank god we’re at Frank Turner gig.
For more tales:
I did not make it to LE 1 or 2, I was not in a financial place to even contemplate attempting it. Not long after LE2 though I got a job that gave me a little freedom but London was still a bit of a stretch. So when Frank announced Boston I was over the moon. The place was my backyard, I scrambled on presale codes, and I got my tickets.
The first two days were phenomenal and everything was amazing but after night 2 I had some unforeseen circumstances that meant minimal sleep, but I was so ready for night 3 as the opening acts were a dream. After rocking out to War on Women and AJJ I settled into the back to enjoy John K Samson, but fate had other plans.
Unfortunately people talking through the opening acts was a problem and was particularly bad for Mr. Samson. I mostly let it slide off me but this one time it got to me. I don’t know if it was the exhaustion, the talking, or just everything catching up to me. It put me in a BAD mood. When Frank hit the stage I was not feeling it. Even with my good friends around me I just couldn’t enjoy the set. It was probably one of the best performances he ever did but for me because of my mood it was one of my worst concert experiences.
Now it was not a knock on the people around me, if not for them it would have been just a bad experience overall so they salvaged the night somewhat. The next morning I woke up not feeling up for one more show. I was close to selling my ticket because I was so defeated from the previous night. So I took it one step at a time. I went to Bill’s Bar for the open mic and somehow ended up with more drinks than I ordered and due to some encouragement from a close friend, a nice hit from a THC pen. As the day went on I got into the mindset of “Screw it, I’m gonna have fun, rule one withstanding”.
I got into the venue and saw the act I was waiting to catch out of the whole festival, The Only Humans who were performing on the Nick Alexander stage. Turns out, one of the nicest guys I met was the lead singer, Tim Howd. The House of Blues staff were also nice enough to let me run across the street to get cash out of an ATM. I saw Skinny Lister tear apart a set as they always do. I had a new friend willing to hold my glasses so I could thrash to Against Me and ended up standing next to someone who was touched by Laura Janes outward transition. Then, after having the best night so far I decided I needed to be on the floor for Frank.
I don’t know if karma is real but it sure seemed like it on this night. Once again karma delivered to me the best dance partner I’ve ever had and what made it better it was someone I met on the first day of Lost Evenings 3. Through the whole set we sang loud at each other, did dumb dance moves, and made terrible jokes. As the last line of the last song fell quiet, the silence set in and I just went… “What the fuck was that?!?!”. It was literally the most unbelievable music experience I have ever had. People asked if I was okay because I was so in shock. So in summary the lesson learned was that gigs are great, people are better. I don’t know if karma is real but Lost Evenings is making me feel it might be.
We discovered Frank Turner shortly after Tape Deck Heart came out in 2013. Our then 13 year old had listened to a few songs and liked him, so my husband played he song Recovery for me, and off we went to our first show (of now 9!). From that first show, Frank Turner became part of the fabric of my everyday life. His songs were always in rotation, and the more shows we saw, the more I loved this the man and his band.
Fast forward to fall 2017, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was early, but it was aggressive. Everything happened quickly – I was diagnosed, biopsied, scanned and started chemo all in 3 short weeks. I had 6 rounds of chemo, surgery, then radiation. I was sick – really sick. I spent time in infusion chairs getting chemo with Frank Turner playing non-stop in my earbuds. When things were dark, he was there with the right words to push me forward, to make me not give up, to keep fighting. In October 2018 I had the last procedure that marked the end of that journey and I’m now cancer free. Lost Evenings 3 was the final celebration of kicking cancer’s ass!
The Next Storm, Get Better, One Foot Before the Other and Long Live the Queen almost gut me every time I hear them live. Those songs have come to mean more to me than just a song. They have become what I hold on to when I think I can’t get there, and every time, they deliver me. I sing those (badly, probably) loudly at every show we attend and I am reminded of where I’ve been, and what can lie ahead for all of us that carry these messages.
I end up going to a lot of gigs on my own but rocking up to Boston for ffive days was going to be exciting, scary, spectacular and emotional all rolled into one. Having been to LE1 and LE2 I thought I knew what lay ahead….. how wrong I was!
Leaving home at 6am, local time, I didn’t stop until I sat in The Lansdown Pub, pint in hand, ready for the open mic, twelve hours later. I’d just missed Frank (damnit!) so I was a little gutted, I glanced to my right and did a double take, “Bob?”.
Now, I say I went to LE1 & 2, but to be honest I went to the Roundhouse. Work, family and everything else got in the way of the other ‘events’ and I struggle a bit with the hanging around between bands because, well, basically I’m a miserable bugger. For LE2 I had a four day pass but when it came around I had started a new job so I could only go to a few days of the festival. So sold my four day pass to ‘a guy from Santa Fe’ named… Bob. We met very briefly on the Monday night of LE2 and I knew he might be going to Boston, but what a coincidence in The Lansdown Pub that as soon as I sat down there a Bob! We caught up at pace. A fantastic bloke who sees 250 bands or more per year, incredible. Over the next few days we shared a number of fantastic moments at the barrier and in the bar.
And that set the tone for the whole weekend, meeting many wonderful people and smiling faces who became instant friends. Everyone sharing in something special. I talked to strangers like we had known each other for years with just a single shared interest…Frank Turner. I got to see Tricia again who I met at a Frank pre-gig meet up in Phoenix a couple of years previous and it was like meeting a long lost friend. Back then we only talked for about ten minutes as we walked to the gig in the Arizona desert heat in 2017.
I still don’t know why it’s like this with ‘Frank’ people. Surely it can’t be unique but the cul…sorry…community that exists around Frank, well, I just can’t explain, words fail me.
Most of all I got to meet Wes and Kim from the Solo Armada (I know, there are many more of you) and to witness what they have built (with the rest of the Armada) and what it means to so many people. I lost count of the times people pointed out mine or anyone’s SA badge and asked where to get them. And of course Wes and Kim were always around to meet and chat and make everyone feel included. Incredible, inspiring people.
And above everything, there was the music. Over the four days I watched the bands from the front of the hall, the back, the sides, the top of the balcony and down in the pit with the photographer’s and it was……..without prescient. Put simply, just perfect.
Towards the end of night four I bumped into Derek (Homeless Gospel Choir) and just thanked him for everything he had done at the open mic and how he had made the whole thing so special. He said very little… he just gave me the biggest hug. I could have cried. What an amazing person.
Monday morning I walked to Boston common and over to the river. I just sat at the waters edge, physically and emotionally broken but so incredibly happy. I could have stayed there forever if it meant I could hold on to that feeling………
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