Frank Turner is losing his shit. He’s standing about three people back from the front of the crowd, eyes closed, arms extended in the air or clasped around the back of his neck, singing every word to every song that the four guys on stage play. He’s easy to spot because of his height, but also because he’s one of just a few people whose reaction is so visibly visceral.
The band, of course, are Mineral, the reformed emo veterans who are kicking off the first of four shows in New York. This is the most intimate of the four, and – bar a surprise gig in their hometown of Austin, Texas that the band, billed as The Parking Lot, played just under a week before – it’s their first gig in seventeen years.
A couple of hours earlier, Turner had been onstage himself, opening the evening with a set of entirely new material. Despite a sore throat, the songs ably demonstrate the Wessex Boy’s continuing evolution as a songwriter, but what’s truly noticeable is just how excited he is to be here, to see this band that, he tells the audience multiple times, are the main reason why he does what he does. That’s true, too, for Into It. Over It., who follow with a terrific full-band set. Mainman Evan Weiss is clearly also in awe of what’s about to happen – later, he too is in the crowd singing along, lost in the moment and the crowd.
If Mineral are overwhelmed by the occasion, they hide it well, focus instead on the contemplative, introspective cadence of their songs. They begin with the first three songs from their first album, The Power Of Failing – Five, Eight & Ten, Gloria and Slower all bringing back memories at the same time as forming new ones. Most people present might be almost two decades older than they were when the record came out, but its resonance is just as potent.
Really, though, it’s the songs from EndSerenading that stand out most, mainly because the band broke up before it even came out. Both For Ivadel and A Letter brim with youthful energy and spirit, and actually sound more tender and moving than they were on record. And then there’s the way Waking To Winter bursts into an overwhelming surge of emotion, before the forlorn lilt of & Serenading brings the main set to the close. There’s not much action or interaction from the band, and it’s not the most dynamic or exciting performance, but they’re tight and true and full of life. That’s especially true for the encore, which starts with the hypnotic rhythms of Palisade and is rounded off by the desperate, burning angst of Parking Lot. It’s a powerful and poignant way to end what’s a momentous occasion for everybody present – the band, the audience and not least Frank Turner, who hugs everyone around him, his eyes on the verge of tears.