On January 15 2007, Frank Turner marked the release of his debut album with five gigs in one day. The tour schedule was made up of four record stores and one north London pub.

The marathon session started at Fopp's Western Grove store at 12 PM, before moving on to Camden and Covent Garden throughout the afternoon. A hard-core group of fans followed him during the day with many more gathering at the Tottenham Court Road Fopp at 6 PM.

Despite the PA in the Flagship Fopp not working the short set went down a storm. The setlist included 'Real Damage', 'Romantic Fatigue' and 'Worse Things
Happen At Sea' from 'Sleep Is For The Week', 'Thatcher Fucked the Kids' and 'Nashville Tennessee' from the 'Camp Fire Punk Rock' EP and his cover of Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’.

Performance number five took place at Nambucca on Holloway Road, where those in attendance heard a play back of the new album with the final track 'Ballad of Me and My Friends' being played live. Turner also played 'Thatcher Fucked the Kids' and 'Real Damage' before introducing a number of guests on stage, most notably Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

It seemed fitting that Frank Turner would celebrate the release of ‘Sleep Is For The Weak’ with a whirlwind of gigs, for that could describe much of his solo career both before and after that landmark day and memorable night.

When we caught up with him at the end of 2007 he recalled: “My main memory is being exhausted! I organized my own launch party, with all my friends, and then had to bail because I was so tired. The day was cool. I set a personal record too, 5 shows in one day. I win.”

On how the album was received he said: “I generally try to ignore the press if I can, one person's opinion is, for me, as valid as anyone else's. I've seen from reviews that the album seemed to be pretty marmite, people were either very pro or very anti. Whatever. The Sun said I was a genius, the Times said I should write a book.”

Ahead of the release of the album Frank Turner talked us through it track by track,
click here for his guide and for the R13 verdict go

With the album featuring songs both solo and with a backing band, the natural next step was to tour with company. For the first time since September 2005, Frank Turner was to embark on a UK tour with more than just a guitar.

“It's great touring with a band. It's the best of both worlds, I get the camaraderie but I also retain control creatively, which is great. I always thought of some of these songs as band songs, so it's been great to play them as they should be live.”

Seeing an artist over a period of time in the same city gives a real sense of progression. As Frank returned to Manchester, so to did Andy Latham, who began his latest live review by saying “what a difference six months makes! Last year you'd have found Frank Turner performing on his own to average sized crowds in small venues like the Retro Bar, tonight he plays Manchester for the first time since the release of his debut album and it's clear that word has got around. The Night & Day is packed out to see Frank return with a full backing band and as someone who has only ever seen him play solo before the difference is quite staggering.”

Read the full review
here, it’s clear to see the effect that night had as Andy closes by commenting: “Having followed Frank since his first forays as a solo artist, during which time I confess I had my doubts about where he could go with it (as I suspect he did too) there's something undeniably gratifying about finally seeing his hard work pay off with dividends. I'm smiling, he's smiling, at last he's found his crowd, Million Dead is a glorious but increasingly distant memory and it only remains to be seen what he comes up with next.”

What he did come up with next was yet more shows, just to be revolutionary and different. These included notable appearances at
Camden Crawl, a spot on the Biffy Clyro tour as they launched the monster that was the ‘Puzzle’ album and festival appearances at 2000 Trees and Wireless.

It’s worth revisiting a quote given to us by James from Biffy on Frank’s inclusion on that May trek: “Frank’s a really nice guy so it was a pleasure to have him on tour. In terms of music I think it’s nice to have different styles of music on tour, as a support band. Also when we are supporting it’s nice to support different types of bands because it just gets boring if you’re listening to the same stuff all night. We think that Frank is a really good performer and the crowds really enjoyed him so it was really nice to have him on tour.”

It’s fair to say that, great though many of these shows were, the peak was still to come. Reading, and in recent years Leeds, is a personal favourite festival of mine and is one which Million Dead visited with great success. I, along with Andy once again, were very much looking forward to seeing how his debut visit there as a solo act would go: it went like a dream!

The full review is
here, our verdict “Frank seems quite blown away and put simply it's a glorious return and vindication for everything he's been working towards for the last two years �" 13/13”.

Frank’s version of events at the end of 2007: “Immense. I'm not going to try and be cool about this, both Carling shows were awesome. A real career highlight.”

What we saw at the 2007 Carling Weekend was the wider world being exposed to exactly what regular followers had come to expect, a passionate performance received by an ecstatic crowd who could all have stood on stage and sung for him given the amount in attendance who belted out every word in the half hour set: another landmark moment.

The second half of 2007 saw three main events: the Softcore Tour where Frank joined Jonah Matranga, Jacob Golden and Joshua English on the road, another trip to the States and the recording of album number 2. We checked out the Softcore Tour as it stopped off in

January 2008: Almost a year to the day since the five gigs in one day to mark the release of ‘Sleep’, Frank Turner was back in London for another noteworthy moment, although this time one certainly a surprise. His album made the shortlist of ten for the X FM New Music Award, alongside such media darlings as The Klaxons, The Enemy, Pigeon Detectives and Kate Nash. He didn’t win the thing of course, but with a public vote deciding the ten nominees this was proof of the growing army of followers Frank had gained and the fan/artist bond that motivated so many to voice their opinion.

March 2008, Frank Turner releases album number 2 ‘Love, Ire and Song’. The promotional side of things was on a noticeably bigger scale, with first single ‘Photosynthesis’ getting regular airings on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show.

When we spoke to him at the end of 2007 he said of the new material: “Two different themes run through this album, distance and optimism. I've been far away from my loved ones, touring more than ever, but I'm also more confident in my worldview. And angry; definitely more angry!”

As with ‘Sleep’ Frank gave us a track-by-track guide which you can read
here, and get the R13 oppinion

Although there are noticeable progressions in terms of sound on the second album (a piano makes it’s first appearance and his heaviest solo track to date is included), it’s very much in the mould of his debut. This means that for many, picking a favourite of the two comes down to which songs you connect with better.

“I think it's true that they're very much of a piece. They were written
in pretty close proximity to each other. I definitely think ‘LIS’ is a better record, both in terms of writing and production. But yeah, I feel like I can draw a little bit of a line now in time for the next record. It's still me writing, there are still themes and sounds that will come across, but I have different ideas."

Much touring naturally followed, as did a summer full of festival appearances including Glastonbury, 2000 Trees, Guilfest and, as if we needed another opportunity to reflect on how the journey of progression was going, a return to Reading and
Leeds, this time though it was his old mate Mike Davies of Radio 1’s Lock Up Stage.

Andy Latham at Leeds: “Well here we are again, one year on from what seemed like a real pinnacle in Mr. Turner’s career when he played a great set to a crowd that knew all the words and clearly moved him. Bit of a deja vu today then but with one notable difference; the crowd is about three times bigger than last year!”

So to bring the story up to date we can close on the release of what was, in terms of exposure, Frank Turner’s biggest single release. When he talked us through the recent album earlier this year he said this of ‘Long Live the Queen’:

“A very intense and personal song, and one I worked on as hard as I could to get it right. A good, good friend of mine, Lexy, died in September last year at the end of a long and painful battle with cancer. I wrote this song in tribute to my friend, the most unhinged party girl I ever knew, who was also the kindest soul and the best listener, the best mother and the best friend. There's not much more I can say really.”

All proceeds went to Breast Cancer Campaign which is clearly the most important point here, however as an aside, it also finally saw Frank make the breakthrough to daytime Radio 1. As someone who has witnessed people connect with Frank’s lyrics in increasing numbers over the past couple of years, to hear Sarah Cox enthuse about him as if he’d just overtaken sliced bread at the top of the greatness league, backed up by texts sent to the station in vast quantity was fantastic.

The touring machine rumbles on, with headline gigs of his own, and support slots with The Levellers rounding off 2008, and one of the most talked about acts of the moment The Gaslight Anthem to open 2009.

With the venues getting bigger, we wondered if a downside to this might be the risk of losing the intimacy that has been such a key element thus far?

“Possibly, but then I've always been aiming high. Already some people are complaining that they see less of me about at shows and so on, but it's a different situation when there are 100 people in the audience or 900. I guess it's unavoidable to a certain extent that some people will dislike the change, but the bottom line is that I'm still making music as best can, and that, rather than the ability to chat with me at shows, is surely what people's priority should be. I still answer my own mail, hang out at shows where I can and so on.”

And what of these “ideas” that he talked about with regard to the next record?

“I plan to arrange and record this album with my live band. We're playing together so well at the moment it just seems like it would be madness to not make use of that for the record. I have some different producers in mind for the album as well. I think that generally speaking it'll be a little bit more "rock" in style, but we're also planning a totally acoustic EP to accompany it, so all styles will be covered.”

And does he have a clearer idea of where this solo crusade is going?

“Not really, though I'd say my horizons have been widening. Who knows? I’d love to be like Nick Cave or someone like that, but hell, I have no idea. Maybe this is the pinnacle right here. Maybe everyone will hate my next record. One day at a time.”

Click here to see the full R13 Frank Turner Archive.

The last word from our point of view should go to Andy Latham: “Every time we see him or review one of his releases I am wary that we have been so glowing in praise that we come across as sycophantic, but the simple fact is that I try to find fault and to play it down a little but particularly with his live shows I can't, because they are so good and that's really why we keep following him around.”