Few internationally successful bands make the effort to leave the standard British circuit to come down to Exeter, but The Subways did to play their first show of the year to celebrate Cavern’s 25th birthday. They came all the way down from Hertfordshire for the one-off special to play with support from “Exeter grunge monkeys” Skeleton Frames and Lande Yo. Perfectly suited to an intimate and energised show, Cavern was packed wall to wall with sweaty fans, locals and students alike. The show delivered what it promised, what with having such a popular band playing to such an eager audience. There was moshing and crowd-surfing throughout, and an atmosphere I didn’t think possible to find in quiet Exeter. The band themselves got heavily involved with the crowd, hurling themselves into the action literally and figuratively. Finishing with their crowning jewel “Rock & Roll Queen”, they left the audience a sweaty satisfied mess.
After the show (and after a plenty of pints) me and a mate joined the queue to take a picture with frontman Billy Lunn. Realising we were the last in line we thought we could afford to borrow some of Billy’s time for an impromptu ‘interview’. Being the cool cat he is, he agreed and showed us to the graffiti-covered, cramped greenroom. Being the unprepared drunks we were, the conversion wasn’t accurately recorded but this is what we managed to pick up.
“We fucking love Exeter! And keep the fucking in!”
We wanted to know why such a big band would go out of their way for a one off show in Exeter. Lunn told us that he’d played with the Subways in Cavern in 2004 and that he was glad to see it had barely changed a bit. He loved the “rustic” style and graffiti covered walls the first time he came and says there are few places like this still open. The band was happy to hear that Cavern was still kicking and wanted to help celebrate the fact that such a unique venue was still going strong. On our offering to add some graffiti, Lunn declined as he was “sure someone would draw a dick next to the band name.” He’s obviously learned from past mistakes here.
We had really got involved and enjoyed the show but wanted Billy’s view on it. He told us that it was great to play to such an enthusiastic crowd and loved all the crowd-surfing, including his turn at it. He appreciated the continued support from the fans though he says that he and the band remain humble enough for small gigs even after their success.
He also mentioned that the band is embarking on a headline tour of North America beginning in April. They’ll also be kept busy by a summer full of festivals this year. It became obvious that we were imposing as their manager was urging them on their way, apparently they had a long drive home. Before they rushed off we asked if they had any parting comments for Cavern and Exeposé. “We fucking love Exeter! And keep the fucking in!”