Levellers - 53 Degrees Preston - 25.3.06

If The Levellers are such anti-capitalist musicians then how can they justify selling their merchandise so expensively? And are boxer shorts, skins and beer mats (at £4 a throw) really necessary? It seems these folk punk rock anarchists want to have their cake and eat it. Dubious marketing opportunities aside The Levellers still remain one of the most electrifying live acts around and with fifteen years of success culminating in eight studio albums one of the most enduring as well. Their fans follow them around the country and even Europe showing a real sense of loyalty and dedication.

With a suitably politically motivated speech from George Bush as the bands intro The Levellers arrive to make a Saturday night in Preston a real party event. "England My Home" opens the twenty one song set but it's during the track "15 Years" straight afterwards that the crowd start to enthuse with the security aiming to banish crowd surfing, girls on their boyfriends shoulders and overall rowdy behaviour, but no-one gets hurt so nobody's joy is poisoned by authority.

Curly haired frontman Mark Chadwick may not be the most charismatic frontman, but he can carry a tune. As always it's left to  dreadlocked bass magnet Jeremy Cunningham who is animated jumping around playing to the crowd. "For Us All" is another fine cracker of a levellers songs, but new member Matt Savage on keyboards is far too low in the mix to make an impact. "Beautiful Day" is the Brighton boys poppiest single to date and is the one fans love to sing along to. Multi instrumentalist Simon Friend who is a jack of all trades on vocals, guitars, mandolin and harmonica is allowed to shine during a short but worthwhile solo spot.

"One Way", an anthem of massive proportions with this strange didgeridoo player caked in war paint causes a kind of harmless havoc to the bands dynamic. "Liberty" and "What You know" are powerful, tightly performed Levellers crowd pleasers which closes an eventful set. Preston is a city The Levellers constantly return to time and time again and with the warm reception and dedication from their fans they'll be back in no time at all

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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