Keane plays first show at the Hope & Anchor pub

Chaplin departed for South Africa in summer 1997 to work as a volunteer during his gap year.

Chaplin's early experiences there would later be reflected in the band's position for the Make Poverty History campaign. Returning a year later on July 1998, Hughes's first words when the band picked up Chaplin at the airport were "we've got a gig in ten days." With original material, Keane made their debut live appearance at the "Hope & Anchor" pub on 13 July 1998. In this same year, Chaplin went to Edinburgh University to study for a degree in art history. However, he later quit his degree and moved to London, in order to pursue a full-time musical career with his friends. After their debut performance, the band went touring London's pub gig circuit throughout 1998 and 1999.