Levellers – We The Collective, Live at the Hackney Empire, May 24 2023

Aren't we supposed to be burning with energy, bounce around in a crowd and give back as much to the band as they undoubtedly give to us from the stage?

Words & Pictures : Adrian Hextall \ Mindex Media (C)

Is it OK to go to a gig to simply relax and chill out? Aren’t we supposed to be burning with energy, bounce around in a crowd and give back as much to the band as they undoubtedly give to us from the stage? The simple answer is Yes and No. This is no ordinary Levellers show. The sort where the band also bounce around and exude the sort of energy that a band celebrating over 30 years in the business shouldn’t be capable of. This is a different sort of Levellers show. The voice of the woman who typically tells us that “this is not just food, this is M&S food” in her husky sultry tones, would be ideal to explain just what sort of Levellers show we were here, at the rearranged Hackey Empire date, because;

“This is not just a Levellers show, this is a Levellers Collective show”

For those that know, the band from Brighton have just released their 2nd collective release featuring new and reworked tracks with additional strings and percussion work from Hannah Miller and Ollie Austin respectively. The new album, the first studio release to feature Dan Donnelly who replaces Simon Fried and fills those big shoes with a tonne of style and respect for what his predecessor brought to the band, gives us the opportunity to step out of the rat race and take life at a more relaxed pace. It’s an opportunity we all need to take in this day and age and I for one appreciate what the band have done here both in terms of pace, styling and most importantly emotion. All three elements translate to the stage perfectly. The band set their stage on different tiers, much the same as an orchestral ensemble and present their show seated to the seated people in attendance at each of the shows. Hannah and Ollie, for these performances were also joined by multi-instrumentalist Raevennan Husbandes.

Is it therefore OK to go to a gig to simply relax and chill out? It most certainly is. A Collective show allows us to just enjoy what’s on offer and forget about the outside world for a couple of hours. 

With that approach in mind, one has to feel slightly sorry for any artist acting as support because the crowd don’t particularly want or need to be warmed up. That said we got a couple of lads who seemed up to the task as they effortlessly pushed their boulder up the hill. 

Wilswood Buoys

Mixing traditional folk music, with modern alternative acoustic pop, the pair could come across like the cast of Fisherman’s Friends but somehow bring to the table a chirpy mix of tunes played on acoustic guitars aided with a smart awareness of the world and a good sense of humour to boot.

Mixing a bit of Gaz Brookfield and Frank Turner with the laid back style to match, their songs focussed (or seemed to) on their failed love lives, but when they needed to they hit the mark with the serious topics and ‘Crisis’, which dealt with all aspects of conflict, but in this case, they highlighted the particular conflict in Ukraine.

They closed with a drinking game song, Save the Queen, which upped the tempo and got a suitable cheer from the crowd as they closed out the set.

Find out more here: https://www.wilswoodbuoys.com

‘A New Beginning’ album is out now on Spotify:

Levellers

And so to the headliners. Sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere was the order of the day and the folk rock favourites managed to do it in style. Unsurprisingly, they incorporated around half of the tracks from the new album plus tried and tested numbers from the original ‘We The Collective’ release. The best way to describe the gig is like going to see your therapist and coming out after a session feeling like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders. 

Opening with ‘The Game’, the reworked slowed down piece was almost enough to bring tears to the eyes such was the beauty embedded in the pulsing version we heard on stage. The same approach saw classics like ‘Liberty Song’ and ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ eliciting similar responses from many of the grown men in the room who were staring into their pints intently because of a little bit of dust in the air.. or something.

Newer songs like ‘Drug Bust McGee’ written specifically for this style of album \ show sit perfectly with the reworked older numbers and make me want to hear electric versions of the songs when the band ramp it all up again as the summer festival season approaches.

A little bit of chat, a little bit of banter, a great atmosphere and the warmest response to Dan and his performance with the band. Everything felt, well, just as it should be. 

Before we knew it crescendos had been reached, the sound of strings had filled the beautiful historic venue and all of a sudden the therapist is calling time on us with just a moment longer to enjoy Hope St., Down by the river ‘O’ and the live favourite that was born to be played this way, Just the One. 

To paraphrase one of the band’s most popular songs, there’s no longer only “one way to play these songs” but instead these clever reworking and accompanying shows suggest the sort of variety that will keep Levellers and their fans coming back for more time and again.

  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023
  • Levellers, Hackney Empire, May 24 2023

Together All The Way – The new Levellers Collective album is out now:

 SETLIST:

The Game
Lowlands of Holland ([traditional] cover)
Liberty Song
Battle of the Beanfield
Wheels
Drug Bust McGee
Together All the Way
Sitting In The Social
Man O’ War
Julie
Ghosts in the Water
Born That Way
Haven’t Made It
England My Home
The Cholera Well
The Boatman
The Road
Far From Home
Encore:
Hope St./ Down by the river ‘O’
Just the One

Levellers have various electric dates lined up where ‘the other’ sort of gig will be taking place and if you want to bounce around and give that energy back to the band check out the dates on the band’s website. I will be in Kent for a gig 10 mins from my house (because that never happens) 

https://www.levellers.co.uk/pages/live

 

 

 

About Author

 
Categories
Live GigNewsPhotos
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

Evergrey - Falling From The Sun

ASKING ALEXANDRIA Reveals Additional Dates for “All My Friends” U.S. Tour Featuring Memphis Mayfire, The Word Alive, and Archers

Ferocious Dog – Kleptocracy Review

Slash – Orgy Of The Damned Review

Corey Glover of Sonic Universe on New Album, It Is What It Is – I’m Compelled to Let My Emotions Speak Through My Lyrics!

RELATED BY

G-TQ58R0YWZE