A FOLK duo who had the last laugh on the cynics when they sold out the Royal Albert Hall are back where they started in the West Country, on their spring 2018 tour, which continues at the Barnfield Theatre at Exeter on Wednesday 18th April with guest Geoff Lakeman (father of Seth, Sam and Sean).
Since they first hired (and sold out) the Royal Albert Hall in 1996, the duo of Phil Beer and Steve Knightley have had several more sell-out concerts in Kensington, but their roots are in smaller venues and both singly and together they have packed diaries of gigs all over the country.
As well as their joint reputation as one of the leading forces in British folk, they are also inspirational and influential in their own right, Steve Knightley as one of the UK’s leading singer-songwriters and Phil Beer as a matchless multi instrumentalists who can, as The Scotsman observed, “play nearly every stringed instrument known to man.”
What would become one of Devon’s greatest success stories started with the two growing up on opposite sides of the River Exe, though Steve was born in Southampton and Phil hailed from Cornwall. Playing in different bands their paths eventually crossed and they joined forces to play the Exeter pub and club circuit before taking off in different directions.
After gaining a degree at Coventry University, Steve started teaching in London and playing the capital’s rock scene while Phil pursued the life of a pro musician, playing in Arizona Smoke Review and the revered Albion Band.
But when Steve returned to the West Country in the mid 80s they started gigging again and in 1991 Show of Hands was formed. Their first album, Live 92, was recorded at the Bull Hotel in Bridport and its excellent reviews helped them break into the festival circuit and tour with Ralph McTell.
The tour continues on 3rd May at Wimborne’s Tivoli Theatre, 16th May at Taunton Brewhouse, 19th May at Frome’s Cheese and Grain, followed by the annual Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens concert on 7th July, and three festivals – 21st July at Chagstock Festival, 4th August at Sidmouth Folk Week, and 2nd September at Lyme Regis Folk Festival.