1865, Southampton

The Levellers

After having recently played to capacity crowds at the Southampton and Portsmouth Guildhall’s the Levellers return to Hampshire for a rather intimate affair at the 1865. The band are just about to start a run of festival performances and this show will act as a warm-up to prepare for the shows ahead. After their hugely successful “Greatest Hits” tour in 2014, the band have just released a new documentary A Curious Life – The Story of the Levellers and 25 Years of ìSubsidised Dysfunctionalityî.

Tonight’s support act is the talented lyricist Gaz Brookfield, who arrives onstage with his fiddle player Ben Wain to a very warm welcome. It seems Gaz is a very popular choice with the Levellers fans who have turned up especially early to catch his set. We are lucky that he is even here as he arrived 10 minutes before the door opened, due to on-going problems with his “trusty” old van. The set includes some great tunes from the new album “True and Fast”, including “The Diabetes Blues” – a funny song with a serious message about “giving up cider”! There is also an earworm of a tune called “The Ballard of Elizabeth Duke” telling a story of a patronising politician.

Gaz Brookfield
Gaz Brookfield 12345

His delivery is near perfect and his performance cannot be faulted. Obviously touring with the likes of Frank Turner, Miles Hunt, New Model Army and Nick Harper has done him the world of good. A very passionate ditty about the heartbreak of being bullied at School called “Be The Bigger Man” rings so true with myself and many fellow members the audience. The set ends of a glorious audience sing-a-long with the words from the song “Thin”, “but it’s not over ’til you’re underground”. Gaz and Ben leave the stage to tremendous applause from the appreciative audience.

The Levellers
The Levellers 123456789

At just after 9pm the bagpipe sounds of the intro tape of “The Flowers Of The Forest” signals its time for the mighty Levellers to take the stage. Typically as the band arrive the dance floor area becomes extremely full in readiness for the music. Kicking off with “England My Home” with the fast building fiddle intro, the band spring to life like a switch has been turned on. The audience do the same and the springy dancefloor is full of bouncing bodies. The band seem fresh and more than ready for the busy month ahead playing a whole host of festivals around the UK and Europe.

They energetically power through a whole host of favourites that everyone in the crowd know every word of. It must be difficult after over 27 years together to pick a set list from the host of material the band have. The only criticism I can offer is that the same old songs seem to come out gig after gig – with such a massive back catalogue of 10 studio albums to choose from I feel some of the lesser known songs should be brought out to add some variation.

The night ends with high-speed numbers Like “Riverflow”, “Beanfield” and “Liberty”; which creates even more intensity in the audience with a few crowd surfers popping up – thankfully the security acted sensibly. A great night with two top class acts and a new venue that gets the thumbs up all round.

Set List
England My Home
Beautiful Day
15 Years
World Freak Show
Far From Home
Sell Out
This Garden
One Way
Too Real
Hope St.
Truth Is
Carry Me
Dirty Davey
The Cholera Well
The Riverflow
Battle of the Beanfield

The Levellers

Gaz Brookfield


Words & Videos By Dave Chinery (Chinners)
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace