Levellers @ Komedia, Bath
The Levellers formed back in 1998 and they are still going strong and entertaining audiences around the country. In all honesty this is the liveliest and busiest I have seen Komedia in Bath for a long time, as a venue that attracts a lot of the bands that might be approaching veteran status but this one certainly bought out the faithful of all ages.
While the two frontmen of Mark Chadwick and Simon Friend ever so slightly resemble thinner versions of the Hairy Bikers these days from the moment they take the stage with opening number ‘Gunmen’ you can tell both they and the crowd are up for a good night. I don't think these Hairy Bikers can cook so good but they can sure bring up a stir with their music!.
As somebody who has been covering live music for around thirteen years now I am ashamed to say I have not seen The Levellers live before, well maybe once at the Glastonbury Festival but that was not memorable due to my alcohol intake as opposed to anything the band did wrong. It was therefore second song ‘Beautiful Day’ that got me into a more familiar grove and proved the nights first mass sing along.
They are a very political band and while they certainly attract a few that buy into the cause I do wonder how many of a crowd to a band like these really are on message and whether that matters anymore. Is it about the politics or the music now. More of a point to ponder than anything else, the music certainly does the talking in a highly effective way.
The joy of a band that have been around as long as this is that they can offer such a plethora of songs for the evening blasting through ‘World Freakshow, Sell Out’ and of course the inevitable ‘One Way’ which even the seemingly less initiated than me could bellow along to. By the time of ‘One Way’ they had been joined by an unexpected member with face paint and a didgeridoo, certainly not what was expected from a folk punk band from Brighton playing in Somerset. Back in our green and pleasant land ‘England my Home’ opened the first encore and after one more trip backstage for the band the night ended on ‘Devil went Down’.
The Levellers had certainly shown us that the best bands just have an ‘je ne sais quoi’ that sets them apart from the rest and gives them the ability to just entertain a room of avid followers, curious bystanders and those like me that had possibly known them from further afar than we should. In actual fact the only reason they get four stars and not five is a selfish one, I just wish I knew more of the songs off by heart like the majority of the crowd, something I aim to rectify for next time I see them.