Tonight's show at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale will be British singer-songwriter Frank Turner's landmark 1,265th solo show.
This must be significant because Mr. Turner tracks each of his shows -- as well as the number of nations (34) and states (37) -- on his website, frank-turner.com. (No West Virginia stops yet.)
It's a pretty impressive list, especially show No. 1,254, which was the part of the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games.
Of course, he and his band, the Sleeping Souls, might have gotten a little lost amid all that Olympic hoopla, but it's still something to say you performed before a live audience of almost 80,000, with a television audience of millions.
London Opening Ceremony in July. Millvale in September.
Mr. Turner is huge in his home country, having sold out Wembley Arena. His media information paints him as passionate and independent, a "charismatic young British troubadour" touring with "his rousing brand of literary folk punk."
Born in Bahrain 30 years ago, Mr. Turner grew up in England, where he attended Eton College at the same time as Prince William. Afterward, they went their separate ways. Prince William had a big wedding and is in training to be a king. Mr. Turner joined the post-hardcore band Million Dead on guitar and vocals and, according to Wikipedia, has been dubbed "the people's prince of punk poetry."
After a pretty good run, Million Dead broke up in 2005, and Mr. Turner was suddenly solo. He told interviewers he enjoyed playing music and touring. But that whole "being in a band thing" was just too much hassle.
Thanks in part to the Internet, his popularity has soared. He's toured the U.S., opening for The Offspring, Green Day, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. On his own, he usually plays in smaller venues such as House of Blues clubs or as part of festival lineups.
You can learn a lot about an artist by tracking the gigs, which Mr. Turner faithfully does.
His first solo show was Sept. 18, 2004, in London, and he hasn't looked back. (But if he ever needs to, this list will certainly help him.)
After 30 shows in the United Kingdom, he performed his first solo concert on foreign soil Jan. 11, 2006 -- the first of three dates in Latvia. Then it was back to Britain until a May 2006 concert in France (No. 99).
Finland, Russia and Lithuania all predated his first trip to the United States, March 14, 2007, in San Antonio, Texas (No. 247). He only stayed for two weeks, and all his shows were out West, but he must have liked what he saw because it wasn't long -- seven months and 103 shows later -- that he was back, this time in the eastern U.S., then out to Los Angeles.
By the start of 2008, his frequent-flier miles were getting out of control. Mr. Turner was all over the map in the truest sense of the expression.
He didn't find his way to Pittsburgh until show No. 803, for a date in Dan's Basement. Seriously. I searched for information on this show. Googled it and everything, and it appears that on March 3, 2010, Mr. Turner actually performed in the basement of some local guy named Dan.
But touring musicians do that. Apparently, that's how you get to the Olympics.
Show No. 937 was a little more high-profile, at Brillobox in Lawrenceville on Oct. 25, 2010.
A year ago, Mr. Turner visited us again, this time at Mr. Smalls for show No. 1,091.
And tonight, he returns there for the third stop on an 18-city U.S. run, promoting his fourth album, "England Keep My Bones."
The show at Mr. Smalls on Lincoln Avenue begins at 8 p.m. There's a $16.50 cover.
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If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1456.music - neigh_north
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