REVIEW gig The Levellers Blackpool Empress Ballroom 05.12.15

Spellbound in Blackpool

It may be winter outside but, inside, there was another kind of storm brewing… it’s been many a year since a line-up of this proportion was waiting for me. Ruts DC, Dreadzone and The Levellers, all in one special night on the West coast, in the partying capital of England.

It was Twenty years ago that The Levellers recorded their ‘Headlights, white lines, black tar rivers’ video release in front of a huge crowd in this very auditorium. Since then, they have retained their unique effervescence as they toured and delivered new songs a-plenty to a growing and very committed audience. I would suggest that most of those present then, were here tonight and it was equally as special an evening.

I myself have seen the Levellers on numerous occasions since then, but this was one of those nights where perfection came to town. The culmination of all of that hard work as the band produced the goods in spades and the audience sang along, as they do at every gathering of the Levellers fan club.

All the hits were there, from the beginning to the end of a superbly constructed set. "15-years", "One Way," Beautiful Day", "Carry Me" and so on and so on, to the point that it is difficult to pick a favourite these days. If I must, I would go for the solo by Simon Friend "Shame" a poignant message about the state of the planet.

The crowd sang, the didgeridoo came and went and all was good in the world… then came the encore… after a set of a standard this high, what could possibly be the icing on the cake? Well, to gather an ensemble of all of the bands on tonight’s bill and then to deliver a spectacular version of the Clash song "Police on my back" was as unexpected and as good as it gets. Then to cap it all, everyone was given a free Levellers live CD as they left. Oh, I wish it could be Christmas every day!

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