WATCH: Frank Turner urges fans to look out for each other in the wake of Paris attacks at Sunderland gig

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Sunderland's new Pop Recs base was launched this weekend as folk punk singer Frank Turner led its opening gig.

The singer songwriter performed to a packed crowd in the new gig venue, cafe and art space in Stockton Road after the venture made the move from Fawcett Street as that building was sold on to developers.

Frank Turner as he performs at Pop Recs.

Frank Turner as he performs at Pop Recs.

He opened by speaking about the shocking terrorist attacks in Paris last night and paying respects to those touched by the tragedy, which has left at least 127 people dead.

It later emerged Frank’s friend Nick Alexander, who was selling merchandise at the Eagles of Death Metal gig which was one of the targets of the gunmen, was among those claimed in the shootings.

Earlier, he had told the Sunderland audience: "I was thinking overnight about what, if anything, you're supposed to do when something like this in Paris happens and I think the thing we should do is to keep playing shows and keep looking after each other."

He also dedicated Long Live The Queen with the words: "There are some people that were here yesterday, who are not here today."

Paul Chester, Michael Dobson, Laura Shearling and Marc Dobson with their tickets to see Frank Turner at Pop Recs.

Paul Chester, Michael Dobson, Laura Shearling and Marc Dobson with their tickets to see Frank Turner at Pop Recs.

After playing a handful of songs, he told the audience: "This is show 1,783 for me, but it's the first at the new Pop Recs and that's extremely important.

"We got in touch through Twitter, that's how this show came together.

"What the guys are doing here is really important.

"I think what they are doing here, building a community in their own time, is really good and important.

Alex Michaels and Natasha Alexander as they wait to meet Frank Turner following the gig at Pop Recs in Sunderland.

Alex Michaels and Natasha Alexander as they wait to meet Frank Turner following the gig at Pop Recs in Sunderland.

"Let's hear it for Pop Recs."

An audience member also suggested he return in a year to play another gig, to which he replied "deal" to much applause.

After the show, fans queued again as he met his followers, signed posters and tickets and had his photo taken with them.

Dave Harper, a founder of Pop Recs, urged the audience to back the shop, with the cash they spend on records, coffee and other items to put funds back into its work, which includes music lessons for youngsters and mental health support sessions.

He said: "Frank came here today. He doesn't have to do it, people who come here don't have to do these things.

"This is something Sunderland needs. It's not funded by the authority, it's independent and we need people to come down, use it or lose it."

Among those who enjoyed the gig were Natasha Alexander, 17, from Seaburn, who is at Whitburn School's sixth form and has previously seen him play at Leeds Festival and one of his Newcastle appearances.

"It was cute, it was nice and intimate," Natasha said.

"After yesterday, I'm really glad he made it because he said he knew a couple of people involved."

Alex Michaels, 18, who is studying business and music at Newcastle University, said: "I thought it was really good, there was a really nice atmosphere.

"It was fitting, what he said about Paris, and it's nice that he said something."

Marc Dobson, 27, of Seaburn, works at Sunderland Greyhound Stadium, saw the gig with fiancée Laura Shearing, 27, his dad Michael, 57, and his friend Paul Chester, 27.

He, like Alex, is going to see Frank play at Newcastle University's Student Union tonight and got hold of his ticket for the Wearside event with the help of his dad.

Marc said: "It was tremendous, I really enjoyed it.

"I was pleased he played Long Live the Queen. It's significant because Laura had cancer and survived that and that's what the song is about, because Frank had a friend who had cancer."

Laura has been clear of the disease for five years after being treated for thyroid cancer.

Michael added: "I want to say a big thank you to Pop Recs for bringing this to Sunderland.

"Newcastle gets all these things and it's nice to see Sunderland get something, something in our own city."

*Look out for our review from Frank's Newcastle gig in our What's On section.