Very few artists are as dedicated to their craft as the Hampshire troubadour. Having already conquered the likes of Wembley Arena, The O2 and Royal Albert Hall, you’d be inclined to question Frank Turner’s need to play venues in smaller cities like Exeter. After all, playing to a few hundred people in a University hall isn’t quite the same as commanding a stage in one of the country’s largest arenas. But that’s what sets Turner apart from most other musicians. At heart he still champions the D.I.Y. punk ethos that enabled him to make the big time and is intent on playing villages and cities of all shapes and sizes leaving no stone unturned. In fact, the tour caps off another year of relentless gigging for Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls who, in 2016 alone, have played to over a quarter of a million people. However, it’s the smaller-scale tours like this 21 date extravaganza, which really enable you to appreciate Turner in all his heart-on-sleeve glory, whether it’s the intimate, English folk tales or the rampant punk tunes.
Over the years Turner has had a strong affiliation with Exeter, referencing the city on ‘I am Disappeared’, a track off 2011’s critically acclaimed England Keep My Bones, as well as playing three of the city’s venues (The Lemon Grove, Cavern and The Great Hall) three times in as many years. Still in support of 2015’s Positive Songs for Negative People, this show appears to be more of a wrapping up of proceedings rather than a full-fledged album tour, so expect a full-host of greatest hits along with hopefully a few rarities (maybe even with a Million Dead cover thrown in if we’re lucky).
For the already converted, I recommend coming down early to catch the support acts, in particular the Portland-based songstress Esmé Patterson, who just released her third full length We Were Wild earlier this year. One to surely be appreciated by the Frank Turner hardcore with her delicate voice, wry humor, poignant storytelling, and impassioned delivery entwined with fuzzed-out guitars and swirling psychedelic hum, sure to impress. Patterson is a fellow act signed to Xtra Mile Recordings (along with Turner, Beans on Toast and Will Varley – who have all played storming sets in Exeter in the last couple of years), a label that champions some of the best folk acts around and a sure-fire rising star.
With the likes of Michael Kiwanuka, The Specials and Slaves already having rocked some of the city’s best venues and with Billy Bragg, Blossoms and Kate Nash all in the pipeline, it seems that Exeter is beginning to make more of name for itself in the UK music scene. Turner, however, has been here many a time before and hopefully will continue this trend as very few solo artists are quite as exhilarating to watch in the live arena. It’s fairly safe to say that if previous Frank Turner gigs in Exeter are anything to go by, this is one not to be missed! Tickets are still available.