Frank Turner celebrates 20 years of Xtra Mile

Much beloved indie label XtraMile Recordings took over O2 Shepherds Bush Empire alongside folk punk singer Frank Turner and special guests to celebrate their 20th anniversary. But that’s not the only celebration of the night. So come on, the doors are at seven, the show starts at eight!

As part of BRITs Week 2023 in aid of War Child, Frank Turner paid tribute to the charity’s 30th anniversary as well as the 10th anniversary of his fifth studio album Tape Deck Heart. Before we get into the happenings of the evening, don’t forget to head to to support the good people at War Child who we very much wish didn’t have to do the work that they are doing but are doing an incredible job of helping children affected by war and disasters.

With support from special guests Guise, Berries and Pet Needs, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls curated a fantastic evening to pay tribute to the label that started it all for the english folk punk.

Starting things off is Guise with a stunning set of impeccable vocals and smiles to win over even thr grumpiest fella in the room that evening. Vocalist Jess Guise serenaded and already packed O2 Shepherds Bush Empire and set the tone for what was to come – a show celebrating handmade folk and punk music that has some of the most dedicated fans in the UK.

Up next are three-piece Berries with a bag full of energetic grunge and math rock that get the first mosh pit of the evening going. Their punchy rock vocals and strong stage presence would put any seasoned punk band to shame. Just last summer the band released their debut album How We Function via XtraMile Recordings.

Colchester-based four piece Pet Needs really turn up the dial with a stage energy the Duracell bunny would be jealous of. Their eight track set featured songs off the band’s latest record Primetime Entertainment as well as 2021’s Fractured Party Music and 2017’s As Kites Fly By Pylons EP. It’s safe to say that Pet Needs no longer need an introduction to Frank Turner fans but was they do need is the music world to pay more attention to them (hint, hint, wink, wink). There isn’t a single boring second on stage during their set, not single drop in enthusiasm and energy, and they don’t for a minute lose the crowd’s attention and adoration. Mosh pits are a must of course.

As for the main act of the evening, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls take to the stage just after nine to a crowd that has come to sing and dance and mosh. As is custom at a Frank Turner show. And with it being an intimate show for Frank, the rules need no introducing or explaining.

Celebrating ten years of 2013’s Tape Deck Heart, the folk singer and his band play the entire album front to back. Which means opening the set with Broken Piano. The emo is all of us was instantly completely mesmerised, though as far as openers go it’s not one you’d chose on any other occasion due to its intense nature. To hear those drums in the bridge again live made our hearts weep with joy and nostalgia. And this goes for a lot of the songs off TDH that made an appearance this evening.

Frank Turner acknowledges that quite a few of the songs had to be rehearsed in more depth than others and jokingly insinuated that he may need the crowd to help him with the lyrics. They happily obliged.

And after Tape Deck Heart had its shining moment, the rest of the set is filled to the brim with tracks of all of Turner’s studio albums. From Try This At Home to 1933, and from The Ballad Of Me And My Friends to Non Serviam off his brand new record FTHC. Jump tradition included for Photosynthesis.

It’s undeniable Frank Turner still connects his music to his fans as much as he did ten years ago. And even though he’s mellowed out a little bit and the politicalities are kept to a minimum, the fire still burns as bright. Making a note of the facts that War Child as a charity should not have to celebrate a 30th anniversary (we agree) because in 2023 children should not be facing these hard ships in wars across the world and dedicating The Ballad Of Me And Friends to all his people at Xtra Mile Recordings shows that he’s a man that doesn’t ever forget where it all started and what really matters in life.