“I’m not really sure why you’re here… it’s free, I suppose,” Turner said to the audience as he geared up to play his first song. He implored the audience to sing along to his new song “Do Something,” the first of a few times that Turner would lead the audience in a big sing-along chorus, though he never needed to. Despite his cheeky self-deprecation, Turner is a bonafide rock star, and the audience was shouting the anthemic choruses of his songs back to him whether he asked them to or not. Following his ear-wormy “Girl From The Record Shop,” which, if it weren’t for a reference to Descendents’ Everything Sux, would sound like it was plucked directly from the early 70s, Turner mused, “you guys are hired” amid the ecstatic cheers of a packed house.

Turner has to know he’s a rockstar, but his humble persona never feels put on; maybe it’s the stripped-down instrumental palette of nothing more than an acoustic guitar and Turner’s voice, or maybe it’s his effortless on-stage charisma. Listening to Turner talk about all that goes into his lyrics, telling stories of old loves and new obsessions, you get the sense that Turner loves being a musician just as much as he loves talking about DB Cooper conspiracies, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” and Korn’s debut record, which he insists “still slaps.” Nowadays, the art of between-song-banter seems largely forgotten, and musicians who love to monologue on stage usually get a bad rap, but personally, I could listen to Turner ramble for hours. If he ever gets tired of music, I’ll be waiting on his stand-up comedy tour.

Frank Turner’s energy is truly singular; I’m tempted to say he belongs in a massive arena, where his larger-than-life choruses can be shouted back at him by thousands, but Turner’s too down-to-earth for that. Or maybe he’s too punk for it. Either way, World Cafe Live was the perfect fit for Turner’s act, which feels (maybe paradoxically) punk-rock and coffee-shop all at once. You can catch him in Philly again at the Fillmore with a full band; just be ready to shout your heart out.





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