Frank Turner (supporting Biffy Clyro) - Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Preceding energetic sets from headliners Biffy Clyro and second support act Yourcodenameis:Milo, twentysomething Frank Turner proves that one man and his acoustic guitar can be just as strong a force to reckon with. Dressed casually in jeans and a tee, a black hat resting on his mop of curls, Turner wastes no time in bridging the space between himself and the audience, chatting amiably away as if (my oh my!) he were 'one of us' and slinging on his charmingly defaced guitar - stickers adorning his instrument read 'I Heart Dick' and 'Reading Is Sexy' amongst other such catchy slogans.
With such a bold impression upon his entrance, it's a good thing the songs that follow aren't too shoddy. With an eye for social observation and some anger to spare, Turner comes across as Sam Duckworth's older - and more charismatic - brother. He disses both the middle classes and troublesome young chavs on Thatcher Fucked the Kids, all with such a barbed tongue in his cheek that one wonders how it doesn't break the skin. The best song he has is Worse Things Happen, travelling that ol' singer/songwriter standby: the messy break-up. However, in avoiding the usual 'boo hoo' schtick and opting for a seething attack on his ex, one full to the brim with vitriol ('You made it clear you didn't care/You never did pretend/And in the end at least you never tried to fuck my friends'), Turner is clearly relishing his left-field approach to acoustic ditties.
Despite the inherent charm, a couple of the songs tread too similar a path, one that is perhaps too self-consciously clever - The Ballad of Me and My Friends is one example, annoying in its lyrical intent to achieve a sense of disaffected youth. However, there is enough genuine humour in this set of spiky songs that Turner should be able to rise above the inevitable Billy Bragg comparisons that will dog this early stage of his career.
For more info, visit www.myspace.com/frankturner