Frank Turner, Alice Wroe, Chris T-T
Cambridge Barfly, April 2008

After the initial, resounding "why?!" from the fans of Million Dead on hearing that they were to part ways, with their electrifying frontman going on to do small-time, honed down acoustic punk/folk, I would never have guessed that now, just three years after they announced they were going to call it a day, Frank Turner would be back on form as one of England's most witty, outspoken and passionate punks still making decent music. While the cramped, attic-like Barfly isn't exactly Wembley arena, Frank has made it back to where he should be, with the smaller venue fuelling his visceral, intimate performance, despite some dodgy lights and a sauna-like atmosphere.

Frank Turner

Frank's perfect blend of witty, politically charged folk-punk anthems and personal, heartfelt (while still remaining on the right side of cheesy) acoustic ballads are the perfect antidote to the soulless, meaningless, fish n' chips "poetry" of the current flood of Topman models and Mini Allens infesting the charts at the moment. And his knack for writing a good singalong meant that even the Frank Turner newcomers could be part of something special, and of course, what better way to spread his message than getting everyone involved? Highlights of the evening were "Father's Day" - a touching account of his relationship with his dad, which struck a chord with the rebellious young lads in the room with the line "And all the promises we made were painful and untrue/But for better or for worse, I am turning into you"; "Photosynthesis", his latest single, and one of the loudest singalongs of the night; and "The Ballad Of Me & My Friends" - his last song, and the one that left everyone in that cramped, sweaty attic feeling truly united.

One time R*E*P*E*A*T Recording artiste Chris T-T

The support was worth noting too - as the result of a clash in bookings, the first slot was "shared" by Alice Wroe, who's ethereal stage presence and unique guitar work held the audience captivated, and someone else who's name I've completely forgotten - possibly because the songs he played were the most forgettable, cheesy, obvious ballads ive heard in a while. To his credit, he showed signs of Feeder-like falsetto tenderness amongst the David Brent moments. After this strange shared set, I was blown away by someone who appeared so completely unassuming I thought he was a sound tech at first - Chris TT. Probably the most refreshing, un-cool, anti-pinup, anti-mainstream folk/punk performer around, I was seriously worried about Mr Turner getting overshadowed. With lyrics like "I'm not one for police brutality/but when the hunters come marching, give 'em one for me officer, give 'em one for me", he had the audience in the palm of his hand, but didn't once show any sign of ego. Now all I have to do is sit at home with fingers in my ears until Scouting For Girls get a political conscience and start writing songs as perfect as Chris & Frank.


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