Opening the night was one-man band Into It. Over It. Hailing from the Chicago, Evan Weiss led the audience through a solid set of acoustic music, pausing between each song to talk to the audience and discuss what each song meant to him, and why he chose to perform it.
Stories tumbled out of Weiss: tales of friends being murdered in a home invasion, catching up with the one that got away, and recovering a stolen bicycle blended seamlessly with the music that followed each tale.
Up next was the high-octane duo Andrew Jackson Jihad. Hailing from Phoenix, band members Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty have cultivated quite the following in the frosty North.
To say these two played loud and fast would be an understatement. Andrew Jackson Jihad had the crowd moving and grooving throughout their entire set.
Listen a little closer to their music though, and you’ll realize that most of their lyrics are rather dark. Nevertheless, their catchy guitar riffs, banter with the crowd, and their cavalier attitude served them well in their set, which had the audience cheering and hollering.
Finally, after 2 hours of splendid music, it was time for Frank Turner.
After a solo appearance at the Ottawa Folk Festival in 2010, Turner returned with backing group The Sleeping Souls to perform a wonderful mix of old, new and very new material.
Turner and The Sleeping Souls did an excellent job of interacting with the crowd, getting the entire club to play “air harmonica” during “Dan’s Song,” as he cheekily admitted to losing the pitch-perfect harmonica after a gig in Australia.
Another highlight of the night was the sing-along during “Sons of Liberty,” with everyone shouting, “Stand up sons of liberty, and fight for what you own.”
Turner is also known for singing traditional English folk songs during gigs, and this night was no exception.
Prefacing his song with a statement about how it was “about some dark, heavy shit that went down in the forest,” Turner then gave an impassioned performance of “English Curse.”
In the end, the evening was a spectacular display of talent, sweat, and snapped guitar strings.