Live Reviews

The Frank And Walters @ Borderline, London

17 September 1999


The Frank And Walters’ latest album Beauty Becomes More Than Life appeared in shops in July of this year. It is now September and here are The Franks, giving a live appearance to promote the album, the first single from which, Plenty Times, is out in November. They’re not out for media saturation. But why the time lag? Was vocalist Paul Linehan having his hair restyled?

Speculation mounted in the packed Borderline as support act The Dum Dums finished their set, having told the assembled hordes of hippies, drunks and celebrities how privelaged they felt to have been supporting The Franks. After all, the last time The Franks played the Borderline, way back in 1992, they were supported by a band called Suede.

On came our headliners of the evening, Paul Linehan dispelling all rumours about new hairstyles. A lengthy set began, made up of a good mix of tracks from the new album and from past times, including a pleasant rendition of Indian Ocean. Aforementioned hippies et al went to work almost immediately; crowdsurfing and moshing was to be the order of the evening. Those of a vertically challenged nature and those prone to cardiac complaints wisely retreated from the scrum, and by the time Plenty Times and Woman were played there wasn’t a stationary body within 15 feet of the stage. The more outlandish tracks from Beauty Becomes… weren’t aired here, but much of the album was and sounded just as good as the CD.

Not content with this, the band proceeded to ask members of the audience up to the stage for a singalong and, while the pulses of security guards began to make their presences felt, the stage diving and crowd surfing continued unabated. At one stage nearing riotous proportions, the mosh witnessed the slightly uncanny event of a very small girl crawling around the floor searching for her glasses, while an asthma inhaler flew, missile-like, towards the band.

It has been popular in the press to write this band off sympathetically as a pleasant bunch who never really made it, or as an under-rated band who never really found their niche, but on the evidence of the enthusiasm eminating from the audience at London’s Borderline The Franks have some very loyal fans. No doubt they will all go away for two months until the first single emerges. If longevity was the idea then The Frank and Walters are making it a reality.


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