Levellers / Mcdermotts 2 Hours - Warrington Parr Hall - 09.04.05

 A lively and authentic Brighton brand of folk-punk from Mcdermotts 2 Hours that was possessed with the spirit of The Saw Doctors and sprinkling of The Pogues, set the evening off to a friendly, enjoyable and entertaining start. The number that the crowd were eagerly waiting for ‘Dirty Davey’ saw the enclosed venue springing into action as it were St. Patrick’s Day. The rousing reception after half an hour of pleasing and lively folk based music coupled with captivating stage presence of Nick Burbridge ignited a fuse of excitement in the audience.

This fuse erupted when the Levellers headed onto stage as part of their tour of off the beaten track venues calling at places like Chesterfield and Salisbury along the way. Therefore, the vibrant opener ‘England My Home’ that echoed around this homely hall seemed apt and served the purpose of demostrating that Mark Chadwick’s vocals seem to have gotten crisper, if anything. Commanding, honest and vibrant number ‘The Game’ from the popular ‘Levelling the Land’ album followed, ensuring that the Saturday night party was in full flow very quickly. New single ‘Make U Happy’ was as well received as some of the older favourites including ’15 Years’ and shows that the creative spirit still possesses these guys, even if it now manifests itself in a more pop friendly mainstream manner, as they were quite far out at one point, weren’t they?

 The variety of the Levellers was illuminated midway through when the menacing and colourful didgeridoo operator Stephen Boakes crawled out of the woodwork and onto the stage, to provide a haunting and piercing intro and accompaniment to ‘Three Friends’. He stayed on the stage frenetically prancing around in between playing for the old favourite ‘One Way of Life’ adding extra ebullience to the number. The climatic encore that included the utopia in song form ‘Beautiful Day’ juxtaposed with the scything, yet equally anthemic ‘Liberty Song’, bore out the fact that with this mixed bag of old and new passionately performed numbers,  this folk/punk band still has something to say and many people still want to listen.

David Adair

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