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!



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