Frank Turner, Andrew Jackson Jihad and Into It. Over It. played at Double Down Live in Gainesville, Fla., on September 28, 2011.
I got to the show late, naturally, because it started at 9 p.m. and I was eating spaghetti and trying to figure out where I could buy Pokemon Snap for N64 for five hours before, so I missed about 3.5 songs of Into It. Over It.’s (hereby referred to as Evan Weiss so I don’t keep seeing the green squiggly line on MS Word) set. However, the 4.5 songs that I did see only confirmed my suspicions that Evan is one of the premier songwriters of the younger, up-and-coming generation of musicians. His songs transition really well live, even when he takes a normal jammer like the Stay Ahead of the Weather song I saw him play (cannot remember which, but I want to say it was “Impressions and Impressing People”) and turns it into a one-man show. However, and I’m sure he’ll hear a lot of this throughout the next few months, Evan recently released Proper, which is a righteous head-banger of a full-band record. He’s going to have to figure out a way to tour with a full band, be it SAOTW or helping hands from other friends, because that record is probably going to get too popular to ignore the demand. He made some pretty funny stage banter, and kept it so nothing was awkward at all, despite being a one-man show on a fairly large stage in front of probably a good 400 people. Although this was my first time seeing Into It. Over It. live, it’s been a long-overdue appointment and I’m sure I’ll be going out of my way to see him the next time he’s around.
This show wasn’t the first time I heard Andrew Jackson Jihad, but it was the first time I paid significant attention to them. They are two dudes, one with a guitar who sings, and one with a badass upright bass, and they play witty acoustic, folky stuff. In short: the set was awesome. Purely entertaining, mixing awesome banter with fun songs, they managed to keep my attention despite me not knowing a single word. I enjoyed them enough to listen to them all week on Spotify, for whatever that’s worth. I definitely recommend checking out these Arizona natives if you get the chance to – it will probably get you into them quicker than listening to one of their records.
Finally it was time for Frank Turner, and his band, dubbed the Sleeping Souls, to take the stage. This was my fourth time seeing Turner, twice by himself and this was my second time seeing him with a full band. First things first – he is much better with a band. While Turner is 100 percent the main attraction on the stage, the Sleeping Souls kick everything into a higher gear and it makes the show a much more intense experience. Turner played the best set I’ve seen him, taking most of the first half of the set to play several songs from this year’s phenomenal England, Keep My Bones. He must have played at least 8 songs from that record – a great surprise because I think it’s his best. He also mixed in a solid helping of Poetry of the Deed and Love Ire & Song. “I Knew Prufock Before He Got Famous” was, as always, a highlight, and “Substitute” and “Love Ire & Song” were both fan favorites.
Turner’s backing band was fantastic the whole night, with the electric guitars providing an amped up feeling to the set and overall, giving the set a very rock-and-roll feel. The more intense portions made me think of Turner’s stated intention to write more punk music in 2012 – something that now seems like an even better idea. Overall, it was probably one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen since watching The Gaslight Anthem about 10 months ago, and Turner comes off as one of my most highly recommended live acts due to the fact that he is based in the UK. He definitely made the most of this set of US dates, and fed the Gainesville crowd with a lot of chatter about the city’s history. A nearly flawless performance.