Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown and photography by Ken Harrison

Time to party! Yep we’re looking forward to this one as we make our way over to Wolverhampton on out third gig in three nights! Gigging people appear to be in two places tonight, either at the Genting Arena for Duran Duran, or, with a total left field and alternative edge to have a good old blast and party on this Beautuful Nights tour with the rag-tag-bobble-tail crew that are The Levellers.

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As we arrive everyone is clearly buzzing. Unfortunately we didn’t make it there in time to see the first act of the night, Ruts DC, but they’ve clearly gone down well. Once again, security is tight, not unexpected all gigging venues are like this after the dreadful attacks in Paris. But everyone gets it. Dreadzone take to the stage and with their rasta-ska-bass-dance beat are getting the crowd going. Mostly frenetically. Smooth rasta vocals getting everyone very nicely warmed up for the main act. People are dancing and having a blast. “Thank you very much – you know you bad boys and girls….” Bounce bounce bounce: we’re all in party mood.

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So to a quick break and here they come – the rag-gaggle-bobtail band of brothers that are The Levellers. The venue goes dark, fiddly Sevink strikes a cord and with a bang of paper confetti that floats throughout the room, the party restarts with ‘England My Home.’

Mark Chadwick, Jez Cunningham, Charlie Heather, Simon Friend, Jon Sevink (the fiddler) and Matt Savage as usual, fill the stage, bouncing around, hugely energetic live. “Good evening everyone. Has there been a lots of fun had so far? Let’s have some more….” Chadwick challenges us all.  “What a beautiful day….” we sing. Warm summers days waft through our minds and we’re dancing. A cheer as the song goes quite for a few seconds, and then bang and we’re off again.

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‘Belaruse’ with reddened stage lighting and sirens – the drum beat cranks up as does the clapping, followed by ‘Fifteen Years.’ No solitude, we’re as one in this party. And in the mosh pit, at the front, somewhere we have leaders of local councils…. who said politicians are boring. Tonight’s set is hit after hit, song after song everyone knows the words too.

‘Far from Home’  followed by ‘Sell Out’  the rebellious political mantra about being sold down the river. The only sell out tonight, is the fact that Wolves Civic must be pretty much sold out. Sevink, very tall and lanky, leaps and spins around the stage, occasionally standing on a platform to tower above us – all the time fiddling away – he is stunning in his playing.

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A brief lull with ‘The Shame.’ before it’s didgeridoo time: And then, the man with the didgeridoo is here, garbed in florescent clothing and face paint, the Aboriginal instrument festooned with lights…. “Blood, sweat and tears, Really don’t matter, Just the things that you do, In This Garden…”

And as they deliver us ‘Too Real’ rolling masses of people float overhead – to reappear from the pit with huge grins on their faces – don’t think crowd surfing is for the young – no, there be older people gleefully floating too. And another after another, ‘One Way’ , anti-war song ‘ Mutiny’, ’Carry Me’, ‘Dirty Davey’… ‘The Cholera Well’ is its usual frenetic delivery, with the final song of the main set – ‘The Riverflow.’

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Break and breathe. And bang we’re off again – thump, thump, thump, – ‘Battle of the Beanfield.’ Before we’re shouting “Liberty” at the tops of out voices. “This means nothing to me, to me. The way we were, is the way I wanna to BE!”  Set completed with ‘Liberty Song.’

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The Levellers just put a big smile on your face; they make you feel life is worth living.  And tonight, they’re on fire – the Wolves Civic as a venue was an inspiration – it’s full on masse party. Wolves Civic is about to ber closed at the end of the year for a re-furb – please don’t take away from the cracking venue that it is! Meanwhile, back to tonight’s gig,  The Levellers may have matured, but they haven’t lost any of their passion and enjoyment.  All of them  clearly have a blast on stage and expect everyone else to do so. They just do what they do very well: rebel-punk, folk, Irish-inspired, fiddly, bouncy music.

 

And big thanks too. Not just a great gig, but on the way out of the door every punter receives a FREE CD – ‘The Levellers Live’ featuring 10 of their best; live and loud. We thank you! And don’t forget their no logo, no corporate, no advertising Beautiful Days Festival, which started in 2003. Next year it the weekend of 19-21 August at Escot Park in Devon and invariable will have a great line-up. Tickets go on sale in the new year. The Levellers have found a way to continue, label and sponsor free, without the mainstream, doing it their way, and without selling their souls to the devil. Blood, sweat and tears, really didn’t matter – today, with big grins on our faces, was indeed, a beautiful day…

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Setlist:
England my Home
What a Beautiful Day
Our New Day
Belaruse
Fifteen Years
World Freakshow
Far From Home
Sell Out
The Shame
This Garden
One Way
Too Real
Mutiny
Truth Is
Carry Me
Dirty Davey
The Cholera Well
The Riverflow

Encore
Battle of the Beanfield
Liberty Song

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