Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Levellers - Levelling the Land 02 Academy Liverpool - 04 Mar 2011

Hot from receiving their "Roots" award at the BBC folk music awards last month, The Levellers, I admit, have always been a personal favourite of mine, and with over 90mins of music played, its tough to know where to start.

What I can say is that from the moment they arrived to the moment they left the audience where hooked, the songs blasted out, kept people jumping, singing and the venue lends itself well to this kind of band.

For anyone who has followed live music for a long time these guys are staple to most bands that came out of the 90s, their influence is heard in many more recent international and local bands, from their traveller roots, they use heartfelt folk lyrics styled in a rock outfit. 

In 1990 when this band where seen playing traveller's fields near Glastonbury, amidst the chaos of pitched battles between traveller's and security firms with goats and chickens flying everywhere, they where finding their feet within the general music industry, leaving the community from which they grew up, and releasing Levelling the Land  in 1991.

For most bands this would have seen them move away and just play mainstream music, Mark Chadwick and the boys however, just didn't do this, all through the years the band have stayed true to their roots, and the BBC Folk award is testement to how the industry and the music buying public views them.

It's kept them just on the radar of the public but under the radar of the usual music channels and radio stations. With their own Beautiful Days festival they stick to their ethos, its unsponsored, unpromoted, but it still sells out.

Sadly, the same can't be said for the people who follow the band, back in the 1990s most people who followed them, where long haired, bedraggled people, struggling generally to eek out an existence, it's clear from the state of the people in Liverpool tonight that these people have either turned into IT consultants and Marketing Senior 40 somethings én masse or their following has changed somewhat.

Either way, the band ROCKED, the audience where dancing and singing from the very off, the place was buzzing and songs you knew but didn't know you knew kept flowing throughout the set, with the massive "One Way" to the amazing "What a Beautiful Day" & "Devil went down to Georgia"

interspaced with gems from across not just this album but many other albums too.  Late in their set came the one song that is top 10 of my list from life, "Hope Street".  I've fond memories of busking this song myself on the streets of North West England.

Chadwick even had time to ask a punter to stamp out some Ganja, oh how times have changed.

The Levellers are the soundtrack to most people's lives, whether they know it or not, and they are still up there with the best of them, and long may that continue. Thankfully the Academy turned off the Gorillaz videos for this band.

"Levelling the land" is re-issued on March 14th 2011 and the Levelling the Land Tour is selling out fast with more dates to be added.

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