Frontier Ruckus – Live in Folkestone **** Review

Frontier Ruckus are another fine Americana act from the Loose Music stable. Matthew Milia fronts the band on guitar and vocals, Dave Jones is on banjo and backing vocals with multi-instrumentalist Zach Nichols adding character with trumpet, musical saw, melodica and keyboards.

In the midst of a hectic Euro tour Michigan trio Frontier Ruckus played Chambers in Folkestone, having sold out their headline London show the night before.

Playing two sets, the group started with Mona and Emily before singer Milia said “It’s been one heck of a tour, I lost my grandad and got engaged two days ago on Hampstead Heath” with his fiancée in the audience.

The Latter Days followed with Nichols bringing out his saw for the first time. When used the saw is often a novelty, not with Frontier Ruckus. The saw is an integral instrument for the group and features on most songs, including an exquisite version of Over The Rainbow with saw and banjo. Nichols is the proud possessor of two saws, one ‘treble’ and one ‘bass’.

The group are currently recording their sixth album and played several new tracks, including Magdalene (That’s Not Your Name) with Nichols this time on melodica. Several tracks came from the current album Enter The Frontier, including Gauche, Sarah Springtime and the upbeat, quirky 27 Dollars.

Ontario took the band to the break and Silverfishes with its observational lyrics opened the second set. The audience was treated to a virtuoso performance from the talented trio who finished with Nerves Of The Nevermind.

The boys hung around afterwards to chat to the audience and were preparing for the long drive to Durham for the next leg of their tour. As well as being apposite for Milia’s domestic situation ‘engaging’ is an appropriate word for this group, ‘talented’ is another. A group to watch.

Words and Live Photos by Chaz Brooks

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