Frank Turner + Chris T-T + Emily Barker @ The Barfly, Birmingham – 22nd October 2008

Frank Turner @ the Barfly

So, after a short stand in the cold, the Barfly is refreshingly warm, although Emily Barker has already by the time I get in, despite being one of the earliest in. So, as the room slowely fills Emily plays her accoustic pleastentry. It’s certainly nice on the ears, but it does little to stimulate the audience. Her lyrics are fairly bland while her attitude is inoffensive leading to a harmless set that would not raise eyebrows in an elevator. However her duet with Frank Turner (who causes a far bigger round of applause than anything Emily has done yet) shows her talent off nicely. The incricate meodies and excellent male female harmonies sound incredible, and while Frank takes over the guitar, Emily does a wonderful job on banjo. If only her whole set was as engaging.

Chris T-T is next on, a man who everyone seems to have heard, but never heard. So it was somewhat of a shock to find that he sounds just like Frank Turner. It would be easy to call him a copy-cat if only for the fact that Chris has been doing his stuff much longer. Chris’ style is certainly a little more lively and with the rest of his band, a lot louder as well, but the songs are very similar, the choruses all to samey adn each song has a rather plodding feel. Perhaps a little more energy could go into these just
to get the crowd a little more enthused.

Frank Turner @ the Barfly

When Frank comes on, there’s a massive cheer, obviously the week of Radio 1 airplay he’s had has done him wonders. His songs are more varied and more interesting than the previous act, although a lot of what makes Frank so great on CD are his smart lyrics. Most of which are lost over the band. It
is a shame, but the music is good enough to keep the crowd up, and the choruses are clear enough to get the Barfly singing. With more country influence than expected Franks’ songs are good fun and lively without ever having to be heavy. Crowd favourites ‘The Real Damage’, ‘Worse Things Happen
at Sea’ and ‘Once We Were Anarchists’ get the crowd nodding and singing. With some smart breaks to let the audience sing and some witty banter on stage he proves that not only is he an excellent song writer but also a great performer. If you haven’t already, find this guy online and have a listen. It’s a far reach from the usual stuff that is mainstream british pop, and it’s good to know that people still love a good british artist.

Review – Terra Duff
Photos – JC Photography

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