I can still remember my first day at Exeter - moving into Lafrowda, fresh-faced and blissfully ignorant of how oh-so-slightly-sweaty I’d be for the next three years of my life (damn you, Forum Hill). It was here, on my first day, that a Welcome Team member told me nonchalantly that there was “no good music and no good gigs” anywhere nearby; I’d have to head up to Bristol if I wanted to see anything decent. Indeed, Exeter has been long-plagued with this seemingly unshakeable reputation - but to those non-believers I shake my fist, especially in the face of this, an intimate Michael Kiwanuka show at Phoenix. For whatever reason, something’s changed recently; name after name has started playing shows closer and closer to home (Lethal Bizzle, par exemple, played Freshers Ball; Kano, We Are Scientists and Crystal Castles, meanwhile, have all recently announced gigs at the Lemmy).
And Michael Kiwanuka is a class, class act. If his Mercury Prize nods aren’t enough to sway you (he’s released two albums and they were nominated both times), one listen to either album should. Both Home Again and Love & Hate are heartfelt pieces of folk-influenced modern soul, and a real crooner of a voice too. He’s exceptionally talented and you don’t even have to faff around for your student railcard and buy a ticket to Bristol to see him. You’d be a fool to miss it.