Saturday, 5 December 2015

Gig review: Levellers 'Beautiful Nights'.

Band: Levellers
Venue: Doncaster Dome, Doncaster
Date: Thursday 3 December 2015
Support: Ruts DC, Dreadzone

It's no secret that the Levellers are my favourite band of all time.  For years I struggled with the notion of having a 'favourite' band as my musical taste evolved and developed so much, I simply couldn't choose.  I was introduced to the Levellers at an early age; raised by environmentally and socially conscious parents, how could I not, for the Levellers stand for so many of these concepts, from their song lyrics to their personal backgrounds.  I think the Levellers was one of my first gigs as a child.  Since that time I've seen them live on numerous occasions and always felt assured by the memory (and thought) that each gig is special, enjoyable and they always deliver.  Better still, every year they hold their own festival Beautiful Days in the gorgeous Devon countryside, taking festival goers back to a better time when festivals were about good music, an enjoyable environment and atmosphere. No corporate sponsorship, no increased levels of capacity...bliss.  

So, on a windy December day, myself and my mum went to Doncaster to see them live, again.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Levellers, their music is a sort of folk/alternative rock often politically and socially driven lyrics.  It is melodic and often anthemic.  

So a collective audience gathered, the support acts were Ruts DC and Dreadzone.  I didn't get there to see Ruts DC but Dreadzone are another of my favourite bands and my god can these guys deliver.  I love it when a band sound great on studio recorded albums, well produced, great vocals etc but it's so much better when their live sound is infinitely better and more atmospheric live and these guys are one of the best live acts I've ever seen.  Their music is a kind of fusion between dub, reggae, folk and rock and my word it gets you moving! Superbly talented musicians and absolutely sublime live.  Even managed to have a little skank which was fun! 

I love the buildup to a Levellers set, collective excitement, the knowledge that it's going to be an incredible night of dancing and singing!  Enter the Levellers, much older and greyer but still as charismatic.  Opening with England My Home the crescendo of fiddle and collective excitement and off we go! Audience moving instantly!  Then on to What a Beautiful Day.  It was a fantastic night, so much dancing.  I think my favourite instrument has to be the fiddle, especially when they played 'Mutiny', you can get into such a gorgeous sort of folky groove and dance to it however you like, avoiding the infamous mosh pit though! Jon's fiddle playing has made me want to be a fiddle player myself.

Another great note was Simon.  Although Mark (lead singer) has such a beautiful voice, Simon's voice always adds something a little special. 

To finish they played the punk anthem 'Liberty Song' and had everyone jumping around!

The Beautiful Nights tour was a sort of amalgamation of their songs, not specific to one album, so they did a variety of tracks from their 27 year career span so far.  The set list is below if you fancy a gander.  I love the Levellers, their politics, their festival and their outlook and they do seem like gentlemen to the last - they even wander round Beautiful Days and have a football match with the kids on the Sunday.  Even though most people I meet haven't heard of them (apart from my folks and a decent portion of friends), I will always love them and if you haven't heard of them and fancy a gander, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

 Set list

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


Battle of the Beanfield
Liberty Song

If you want to check out the Levellers, here's a great starter track to showcase their live prowess:

Levellers 'One Way' Glastonbury 1994 

Thanks for reading, happy Levelling!


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Update & Lush face mask review

Hello there!

Sadly I've not had much time to blog that much as life has been a little hectic and busy for the last year (hence the date of the last post) but I'm hoping to transform this blog into a variety of outlets, for product reviews, political views and discussions, gig reviews, environment news and animal rights news.  The first post is a lighthearted and relaxed one, reviewing a Lush product I've bought recently in the skin care department!

Now, I have not always been blessed with the best skin, which is a bit of a nightmare sometimes, I have combination, spot-prone and sensitive skin.  As you can imagine, skincare can be a minefield at times. 

I am a big lover of Lush products.  100% vegetarian (a lot of their stuff is Vegan too) and fits in with my ethical stance as a!

I went on a trip to Hereford with my mum recently and we decided to stop off in Lush.  I've tried a few of their fresh face masks but I noticed a rather pretty pink mask called 'Rosey Cheeks' last weekend.  Each mask generally dictates what issues and skin types it tackles, this one was aimed at reducing rosiness and calming skin.  So we treated ourselves to a Lush pampering evening with face masks.  Yum.

The review:  This mask was amazing!  Firstly, it smells divine, a subtle but beautiful rose scent and lovely powdery pink colour.  After washing my face, I covered it in the mask which is very smooth and feels lovely just out of the fridge.  Left it on for about fifteen minutes.  It does dry quite quickly (ergo you feel a bit like a mummy).  Washing it off was a dream, it feels really soothing as there are no abrasive or exfoliating bits in it, which in this case was lovely. 

Even though its intention is to reduce rosiness (not sure if this would target users with Rosacea or just people whose skin has a penchant for going red in colder months?), I found this mask to be a soothing, calming delight after a long week and my skin can get a bit red when it's cold, I did notice it is less sensitive than usual but I haven't suffered with redness this year, so can't say whether this has had an effect.  It left my skin feeling mostly soft (slightly dry in places but as I have combination skin, this wasn't really an issue) and clean and I'm not sure if it's improved my skin's complexion but it is so soothing that it's eased my sensitive skin and left it feeling pretty darn good.

Downsides?  Can't really see any.  I suppose it is ever so slightly drying but that seems to work fine with my combination skin.  I do put a night cream on the areas of my face that are dry, so that would possibly work if you are prone to dryness from skin products.  These fresh masks do need storing in the fridge and have short shelf lives, but they're perfect to split with a mate and at around £6.00 a tub, they're good value for money as you get quite a few out of the pot.  I've been using this every three days since last weekend.

Verdict: Pretty lovely, soothing and calming for tired skin.  Let me know your thoughts on the face mask and your comments!  I didn't need the benefit of its rosiness calming but hopefully it will calm such redness in other users, however, I'd recommend it on the soothing basis described above, a good old all rounder!