Goldney Ball, Bristol University - 13.06.2009
Take one incredibly swanky hall of residence, add around a thousand students in black tie and then add one of England’s premier singer-songwriters.
Ex-Million Dead frontman was set to headline the end of year ball for Bristol students, the only problem was most of them had never heard of Million Dead, or him, or any of his songs. For the 50 or so who did cram to the front of the tent where he was playing, they were rewarded with an intimate gig that was as unique an occasion as it was surreal.
Turner took the stage missing his drummer who had prior commitments in his Genesis tribute act and kicked off with latest album opener “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous”. I think Turner was genuinely surprised at the reaction he received from the small, but hugely passionate fans. Many, especially those in the front few rows, were belting the lyrics back at him. He admitted to feeling underdressed in his relaxed and friendly banter bits with the crowd but that didn’t stop him capturing the attention of all who were watching, including drawing in some stragglers at the back of the tent who were attracted to his folk rhythms and angry lyrical style.
During his 30 minute set he banged out many fan favourites, mostly off “Love, Ire and Song”, including “Photosynthesis”, “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot” and “Substitute”. He also rewarded his dedicated fans with a couple of new songs called “Dan’s Song” and “The Road” that will be on his Epitaph debut later this year. The set-list climaxed with the classic “Ballad of Me and My Friends” which received the best reception of the night.
Turner returns to Bristol in October to play at the student union. No doubt it will be attended by a larger, more casually dressed crowd, but for those who got to see him in that tent surrounded by other die-hard fans; it will be a moment that they will not soon forget.