How many times do you come across a band for the first time or hear them for the first time in ages or see them live for the first time and realise just how many bloody good songs they have released over the years? It doesn’t happen often for me, but the Levellers are definitely an exception to that. Whilst I had always been aware of them I had never been an avid follower. But tonight it dawned on me just how strong their repertoire is.
I went to the gig with my beautiful and delightful wife Catwoman (a.k.a Catherine) and our friends Sarah and Kev. The evening started with a new documentary about the band and their history. Jeremy Cunningham the band’s bass player was one of the most vocal in the film along with his fabulous parents. The documentary was fascinating and included some great detailed information and insights into who the band really are. All the current and previous Levellers were very candid in the film, most notably Jeremy. They have stuck by their principles and despite having a run of seven platinum albums have never been an ‘establishment’ band; thankfully. The film covers their early days, first appearance at Glastonbury and even the turd that was sent to then NME scribe Andrew Collins. At 78 minutes it was close to being a little too long but I loved it. The film is called ‘A Curious Life’ and I believe that it gets a DVD release on 27th April.
The film screening was followed by a Q & A with the director Dunstan Bruce (formerly front man of Chumbawumba) and Jeremy Cunningham. This was soon followed by a fantastic acoustic set from the Levellers. The venue was seated but people were agitating to dance and stomp from the off, although security were very quick to keep everyone in their seats. However about halfway through the show that thankfully became impossible and we were all up singing along and dancing. The atmosphere was electric; which is quite funny for an acoustic show isn’t it?
I don’t know all of the songs but some that I do know were supremely performed; “The Boatman”, “Truth Is” and “Edge Of The World” are among my favourites. Whilst they didn’t play one of my favourites “One Way” it was still a storming set with the anthemic “Carry Me” being a part of the encore. Since getting home from the gig I have begun to work my way through all the Levellers albums on Spotify. They also have a greatest hits set available which includes collaborations with Bellowhead, Imelda May, Billy Bragg and Frank Turner. Would I pay to see the Levellers again some time? Fuck yeah!
As regular readers know that as I prefer to enjoy the show rather than look at it through the lens of my mobile phone none of the pictures or films were taken by me and many were not from the gig. That part has been a public service announcement 🙂