Frank Turner, whose band performed at Denver's Ogden Theatre Wednesday night, is one of the least likely breakthrough artists to emerge in years. Not because the English folk-punk musician isn't good enough to appeal to the mainstream – quite the opposite, actually – but because he sounds like so little else in it these days.
A singer-songwriter cast firmly in the mold of Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer, Turner and The Sleeping Souls are an outfit largely driven by acoustic guitars, church-organ keyboards and existential musings delivered over snarkily sunny melodies. This unlikely combination led to a near-capacity Ogden crowd chanting gleefully along to a chorus of “There is no God!” (from the song “Glory Hallelujah”).
But in person, Turner shows no trace of punk rock meanness. He spent most of the show joking about his back problems, encouraging people to be kind to each other and exhorting fans to wave their hands and dance. Strangely enough, a nice, honest guy simply trying to make nice, honest music came as a very welcome surprise.