Frank Turner @ Amplifier, Perth (17/04/11)
Hardcore front-man turned punk-driven, folk-playing Englishman Frank Turner, took Perth into an acoustic frenzy for not only the last gig of his Australian tour, but his 999th gig as a solo artist on Sunday night at Amplifier.
Self-proclaimed Perth City busker Dan Crook took to the stage first with an abundance of energy and intense guitar strumming derived from either nervousness or exhilaration, or perhaps just his style. His hooks were catchy and he was mildly humorous with his Introduction of the Smartrider song but majority of the crowd simply walked in and out checking him out without being completely captured.
Sydney acoustic artist Isaac Graham gained much more attention with his punk-infused folk set. His songs ranged from a blues influence to more generic upbeat tracks that had the crowd happily clapping along. His talent shone through in the track Gold and Steel that won him a place on the B-side of Turner’s Try This at Home single. His honest lyrics and simple yet well-defined guitar riffs showcased exactly why he won. Graham’s mellow cover of Rancid’s Olympia, WA, gave fans an early taste of what the night held as Mr Turner himself emerged on stage to back up the song and get everyone involved.
Turner needed no introduction as he dived right into I Knew Prufrock Before he Got Famous. He is a musician that needs nothing but his voice and acoustic guitar to get the crowd pumped and his undeniable stage presence ensured this was achieved song after song. The inspirational love of music in I Still Believe and drunken-night influence of The Real Damage continued the set and tore through the band room stimulating a musical paroxysm in the audience.
Turner played a handful of new songs including I am Disappeared that simply stunned the audience and aroused anticipation for his new album in June. One track that didn’t make the cut-off date, now dubbed as Rod Stewart thanks to Turner’s witty disposition and the internet, was light, yet contained enthralling lyrics to capture and reel in everyone’s attention.
One of the highlights was the love-filled torment tune Substitute, motivating fans to sing along and become engrossed in his sound. Turner’s crowd interaction is commendable. Sharing background stories to songs and the crazy encounters inspiring the politically pent-up anger filled Love Ire and Song, Turner encouraged everyone to get involved by singing along and then evolving the entire audience into human harmonicas for Dan’s Song.
A duet with WA born, England-based Emily Barker added an edge to the beautiful track, Worse Things Happen at Sea, however Barker’s vocals were no match for the strength of Turner’s.
The hauntingly beautiful Queen is Dead managed to project from the stage and send shivers through your body before the victorious crowd began chanting “to the North, to the North” for The Road. Before the end, Turner pulled out the incontestable crowd favourite Photosynthesis proving that no one was going to sit down, shut up or grow up at that show.
After reaching the curfew for a Sunday night at Amplifier, Turner, being the rebellious musician that he is, managed to squeeze in two extra songs, bringing Graham back on stage and then ending the epic, power-driven show with The Ballad of Me and My Friends.
He approached each song with an intense passion and made it one of those gigs that start with an applause and end with your jaw hurting from smiling and throat dry from singing along and cheering for well over an hour.