In celebration of its 25th birthday, Exeter’s famous Cavern venue has put on a range of special events, from high profile gigs to indie and DJ nights. With acts such as Eliza and the Bear, Ben Ottewell and The Subways all performing for the occasion, Frank Turner is one of many big names to make an appearance in support of this intimate and unique gig space.
Frank Turner first appeared at The Cavern over a decade ago, with his old band Million Dead, a post-hard-core outfit (2001-5). He returned several years later as he began his solo career, performing his array of folk/punk songs all across the country with just an acoustic guitar.
Since then, Turner has become a well-established artist, with a performance count of well over 1,000 shows and headlining at a sold out Wembley Arena in 2012 – underlining quite why seeing him at a venue with a capacity of a little over 200 is so special.
For his live shows, he is usually accompanied by his backing band ‘The Sleeping Souls’ – who are also featured in the recordings of his studio albums and live performances – but Turner played alone at The Cavern on this occasion, performing an acoustic set and only alternating between two guitars.
The show was opened by I Am Disappeared and from the beginning of his performance until the end, Turner had the whole crowd engaged and singing along with him. His set consisted of a range of songs from his older albums, up until his most recent work. In place of an encore, the final twenty minutes of the show comprised of Turner playing one song from each of his solo albums, one track perfectly segueing into the next.
Each track was introduced with a comical anecdote relating to the inspiration behind the music as Turner had no problems interacting with the audience and sharing his outgoing, witty and charming personality. It was one of Turner’s typically accomplished performances and particularly pleasing that, despite his huge success in recent years, he was able to show his support for one of the smaller venues that played such a part in his earlier career.
Words: Daisy Allen-Smith / Photography: Nicola Smith