Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Tue 11 Oct.
English folk-punk outfit The Levellers arrive at The Gov at the tail-end of their Australian tour, promising to play all of the songs from their best-known record, 1991’s Levelling The Land. Judging by the buzz in the audience, this is going to be one for the fans.
The band starts the show with the fabulous One Way, which has the crowd singing immediately, and this is followed by the equally impressive The Game. Mark Chadwick jokes with the crowd about it being a Tuesday, an odd night for a gig, “but you’re all here; let’s party”. As expected, Fifteen Years comes next. No-one seems to care what day it is, as they bounce up and down, singing every word of every song.
Three songs in and everyone’s expectations have been confirmed. These guys are the real deal. Chadwick gently urges the audience members to move closer to the stage. It would be rude to refuse…
It seems clear that the band members are having a most excellent time of it. They are not alone. The album progresses, and the rapture continues. As does the bouncing, on and off stage. How Jeremy Cunningham manages to keep his bass playing so tight, as he pogos across the stage, is anyone’s guess. John Sevink, who looks like even he can’t believe how good the band sounds, plays the fiddle like a man possessed. Simon Friend’s electric guitar and mandolin are so good; shame he can’t do both at the same time. Even the lighting is in party mode. The mix is pretty good, although the fiddle could probably be pushed a little.
Steven Boakes, the luminous one, plays didgeridoo and confirms that the increasingly common practice of melding indigenous Australian and Celtic instruments works well. Charlie Heather can hardly be seen behind his kit, but there’s no doubting his presence. At the core of this rhythmic roller-coaster, he’s holding it all together. Matt Savage plays keys, drums, guitar and, seemingly, anything else he can get his hands on. The singing continues; Another Man’s Cause allows the audience choir to shine. The harmonica intro to Battle Of The Beanfield signals that the album performance is drawing to a close.
As well as showcasing the Levelling The Land album, the gig features a range of songs from the band’s back catalogue. This Garden kicks things off, and Carry Me is another winner, especially the singalong reprise.
Chadwick introduces local lad John, the guitar tech, to the crowd and says that “one day he’s gonna be more famous than any of us”. He then tells the audience that they are going to “do something stupid and ill-advised” and the band launches into Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down To Georgia. Needless to say, the place goes off.
The encore presents more crowd-favourites, including a stirring version of What A Beautiful Day, before Chadwick tells us that it’s the end, the last song, and that “we’ve all got shit to do tomorrow”. The show closes with What You Know.
This has been a most vibrant, joyous affair. Let’s hope The Levellers have enjoyed this tour so much that we’ll see them again soon.
by David Robinson
Image courtesy of David Robinson
- One Way
- The Game
- Fifteen Years
- The Boatman
- Liberty Song
- Far From Home
- Sell Out
- Another Man’s Cause
- The Road
- The Riverflow
- Battle of the Beanfield
- This Garden
- Truth Is
- Carry Me
- The Cholera Well
- The Devil Went Down to Georgia
- What a Beautiful Day
- What You Know