The Levellers - Manchester Academy 1 - 09.12.05

A haunting Big Brother style (of both the Orwellian and the Channel 4 programme ilk) documentary narrative, decrying the American manipulation of Iraq set up the entrance of The Levellers. It served as a stark reminder that this fervent outfit are as pertinent now as they have ever been. There was a different, shall we say cleaner crowd gathered tonight than at gigs in their heyday, as songs like ‘Sell Out’ reached out to a varied audience, who relished the soaring nature of it.

Front man Mark Chadwick romantically expressed a long time wish of the band to have a Christmas number one. He then implored people to download ‘Last Man Alive’ that is released on the 12/12/05 and judging by the flighty crowd response, it was a good choice of single, showing their mellower and more pop friendly side. The commanding and uplifting ‘Beautiful Day’ was the peak to the potent main set of frenetic folk punk, with a breathtaking acoustic interlude.

The lion lungs of didgeridoo player; Stephen Boakes were not used until the encore when his hollow and haunting introduction to ‘This Garden’ reverberated around, before the kicking guitars took over. The broadly talent, Mercury Prize nominee Seth Lakeman joined the fray for a frenetic fiddle-off with John Sevink, to make for a captivating spectacle. The free spirited ‘One Way Of Life’ lit the touch paper of some Gaelic style frolicking from pleased gatherers, as the band finished by paying homage to the “brilliant as always”, Manchester crowd.

David Adair

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