Live Review: Frank Turner - Amplifier Bar

14 May 2012 | 5:25 pm | Daniel Cribb

Turner’s voice was on overdrive the whole set. It’s surprising that someone’s vocal chords can produce such controlled intensity for such a long period of time

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The 8pm expectation – when doors open at any other time, it tends to throw the night into somewhat of a chaos. Melbourne punk rockers The Smith Street Band hit the street nice and early, half an hour before that. Luckily, you only had to catch the tail of their set to get an idea of the energy and emotion their live show packs, which was good for those stuck in the line when they kicked off.

By the time William Elliott Whitmore made his way onto stage the room was packed. Although he was a slight change of pace, with a wealthy fund of boot skootin' banjo/guitar riffs and a blues'n'roots voice that conjures up imagery from a western showdown scene, he won the crowd over in no time. A quick rendition of Bad Religion's Don't Pray On Me, a few other catchy numbers and he bid Amplifier farewell.

This being Frank Turner's third tour of Australia meant a lot of the crowd had seen him before. The only difference this time was his backing band, The Sleeping Souls, accompanied him. Eulogy, Try This At Home and If I Ever Stray proved a successful and powerful introduction to an hour-and-a-half that didn't show any signs of strain – despite the band admitting this was the first time they've played together in a month.

Turner's voice was on overdrive the whole set. It's surprising that someone's vocal chords can produce such controlled intensity for such a long period of time – the same cannot be said for his microphone, which, after being drowned in sweat and spit, gave way and had the audience chanting “Frank the tank”. He dropped his backing band on numerous occasions, one time to play Wherefore Art Thou, Gene Simmons? to call out the Kiss bass player out for the womanising prick he is. But really, who didn't already know that? A harmonica solo from Whitmore and an around the stage thank you, that included the band's tour manager and sound engineer, saw the night close with Photosynthesis – a song about never growing up, which summed up the collective energy and vibe of the alcohol-fuelled evening.

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