The Levellers - ABC, Glasgow, 18th December 2008 (4 stars)

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The Levellers - ABC, Glasgow, 18th December 2008

Twenty years on and despite a few extra wrinkles and more than a few grey hairs, The Levellers have not lost an ounce of their infectious passion for live performance. Still decrying the establishment, but now with up to date political references (see Burn America Burn), they launched into seven of the 11 new songs from recent album ‘Letters from the Underground’ with as much fervour as they gave to the few older crowd pleasers they included in the set.

It was clearly a gig for promoting new work and the enthusiastic audience would probably have been more justly rewarded with the notably missing ‘Beautiful Day’ or ‘Julie’ but it’s debatable whether a band should have to pay homage to the songs that endeared them to the masses at every concert. A brief burst of the didgeridoo along with anthemic classics ‘Carry Me’ and ‘One Way’ buoyed the applause enough.

Two years after their last Glasgow gig, it was the (somewhat dwindling) hardcore fan base that turned out and although they had little more than a new album thrust upon them, the consistent and resounding applause spoke volumes for the reception given to the band’s eighth studio album.

The mainstream press may have denied The Levellers’ presence over the last two decades but their solid performance showed otherwise. The band were tight and polished although perhaps slightly worn at times. Beaming smiles and swinging dreadlocks aside, lead singer Mark Chadwick’s reluctance to really engage with the crowd could have been perceived as weariness, even arrogance, but he was at home on the stage and together the band made enough of an impression to be called back for two encores.

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