A damp winters night in Glasgow, sees the return of one of the venues favourite bands, on the 30th Anniversary of Levelling the Land album. It is the perfect night for the show as it has so many great memories for both the older fans and the band as the venue was the scene for the MTV recorded live show of the same tour all those years ago. Tonight was going to be special for the band and fans.
The show opened with John o Groats band Neon Waltz who ended their short UK tour the night before in Kilmarnock. The band played their own Indie alt style music, capturing the audience from the onset. The band filled the stage and delivered a great set to the fans of the Levellers. You could see with the expressions on the bands faces they were enjoying their time on the famous stage. It was a short set that packed a punch, and was greatly received by the crowd, they said their good bye and said how much enjoyment it was to perform for them.
As the band left the stage the roadies appeared to clear the support bands equipment, the electric atmosphere crept around the venue like a fog moving in from the ocean. The venue, now packed with eager fans, waiting for the band to take to the stage. Equipment was now in place, the time has come, their heroes are about to take their positions on the famous stage once again.
As the lights went down, the old BBC test card appeared on the backdrop, it was a trip back in time showing news clipping from old BBC news, to the current news. The time has come to welcome the band featuring Matt Savage, Simon Friend, Jon Sevink, Charlie Heather, Jez Cunningham and Mark Chadwick to the famous venue. As the opening chords of “One Way” the first track on the album were struck, the crowd went wild, a song that usually appear later on in the set but tonight it opened the show and what a way to start, this was going to be amazing night. The energy created on the stage produced a sea of dancing bodies that looked like waves approaching the stage under the stage lights. Jez and Jon covered the stage from left to right delighting the fans.
As the band played through the album with the awesome “The Game”, before the triumphant “Fifteen Years” the crowd in full voice took the roof off the venue. After this the band took the tempo down a little with “The Boatman”, before getting right back in to it with “Liberty”, “Far from Home”, “Sell out” and “Another Man’s Cause”. The band looked as if they were having an amazing time interacting with the Glasgow audience, creating the awesome energy through their music to create the ultimate party atmosphere.
The band played the final three songs from the album with “The Road”, “Riverflow” and the excellent “Battle of the Beanfield”, it was great to hear the album in full live, the album has never dated from its release, the songs are just as powerful now as they were back in the day when it first dropped in the record store.
The band were on fire at this point, it felt as if this was the first time playing the album in full, we know there has been previous nights on the tour, the famous Barrowlands enables a freshness that brings the best out of bands, tonight was no exception, including the fact The Levellers got inducted in to the venue’s Hall of Fame, encouraged that the band showed off to their fans. The band finished off their set with a great range of songs that delighted the fans with “Hope Street”, “Generation Fear”, “Carry Me” before closing the set with the “Cholera Well”. The band left the stage but everyone knew they would be back as they wanted to party as much as the Glasgow audience.
The band returned to the stage to an amazing roar from the audience and the band delighted their fans with “Our Future”, before playing “What a Beautiful Day” that had the venue in full voice and dancing. Saying their goodbyes they delighted the crowd with an awesome version of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” before they left the stage for the final time.
The music of the Levellers never gets dated, as is evident with a young to old fan base, engaging the band and carrying on the traditions, some may not be familiar with many tracks from “Levelling the Land” album, but hearing them live, track by track, was just a glorious occasion. The music from the band still feels as fresh as it did all those years ago when filming the MTV show up to the present day. This was a beautiful day of music and the perfect way to enter the start of the holiday season.
Review and Photographs by James Edmond