Sunday, 16 September 2007

Live Review: Frank Turner - September 15th 2007

Dubbed the "UK Softcore tour", based upon the fact that all artists playing were at one point of their careers in hardcore punk bands, it's strange to see four artists come out one by one and play without a backing band

Oregon's Joshua English suffered from poor sound levels tonight. The vocals were far too powerful compared to that of the solo guitar. However, this aside, English flourishes. His emotive acoustic folk went down well with an audience of who at least ninety per cent of have never heard of him. His between song banter with the audience keeps everyone entertained, asking about the Wolverhampton area and introducing the story behind every song. A good effort put forward for a relative unknown.

Another unknown is Jacob Golden. His first date on the tour, he shuffles onto the stage like he isn't even sure of his own ability. He keeps his between song talk to a minimum, instead letting his brilliantly crafted songs do the talking. It becomes obvious soon into his set why his album is titled 'Revenge Songs'. Melancholic chords and strained, emotional vocals suit this man perfectly. The guitar work he displays is amazing, harmonising between voice and guitar on most songs. He leaves the stage with a lot more fans than he started with. And after buying a copy of 'Revenge Songs', this reviewer can see why. Track down a copy, you won't be disappointed!

Jonah Matranga is a cult hero in his own right. Mainly known for his work in seminal band Gratitude, he has been playing solo acoustic for almost a decade now. The fact that he's being around so long shows in the amount of people in Gratitude tee shirts and those singing along with every word. Matranga has great stage presence for a man standing alone with a guitar. When he sings his lyrics you can see they are from the heart, some of them on the verge of being screamed. Its a shame that after almost a decade of plugging away with near constant touring, he isn't as big as he should be. He is more passionate than most solo artists you hear today (naming no names). He thanks his fans from the bottom of his heart for supporting him for almost ten years, and he is so sincere, you can tell he means it.

Frank Turner, the only British act tonight, is amazing. Coming from the relatively underground UK hardcore act Million Dead, he never ceases to amaze. Tonight he plays a mixed set of old favourites and songs that will soon feature on what will be his second album. He also does something he never does anymore, he plays a Million Dead song. He gets requests at most shows he plays and always refuses on the basis that he has his own songs now and that Million Dead is in the past. However, when he's told a girl has travelled from Poland to see him live, he plays a Million Dead song. This possibly gets the biggest cheer of the night from the former MD die hard fans. As always, Turner is witty and amazingly skilled at what he does. Mixing songs about life in Britain, politics and the punk scene in which he grew up, he flourishes. Listening to him on record is a great experience, but seeing him live is another thing all together. And as always, it was amazing.

by Jonny Almond

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