Attempting to get to the o2 Academy for this evenings appointment with The Levellers was harder than expected, a combination of events going on in Birmingham city centre meant that we arrived over an hour after doors opening to find people still queueing to get in. Once we had made it inside we found pure chaos as the venue was so packed it felt like stepping into a sauna in the middle of December. Having been going to the academy since it made its new home in 2009 I personally had never seen it so busy and this was a clear indication that it was going to be an insane evening.
The Levellers, an English rock folk band from Brighton are currently doing a 25 year anniversary tour to commemorate the release of their album ‘Levelling the Land’, thus they were pulling out all the stops to make it unforgettable evening.
Looking around the venue I could see a huge array of people from all ages, even people that looked to be well into their 70’s on the barrier! It was amazing to see such a diverse group of people all waiting to enjoy the same music from one band. Eventually the wait was over and a video depicting UK political history was projected on the stage. This was met with a pantomime reaction of cheers and boos adding to the atmosphere for when The Levellers finally appeared on stage and rocked straight into action with their 1999 hit ‘One Way’.
Following this was a trip down memory lane with songs from the 90’s making you feel like you’ve walked into some sort of time warp with the crowd singing along to every song without even noticing it had been 25 years proving these amazing songs have stood the test of time.
A personal highlight for me was when they played ‘Carry Me’, a song I often had playing on my Walkman during the abhorrent years of high school.
The entire evening was magical and impressive and for those lucky enough to have secured a ticket they certainly wouldn’t have been disappointed as the crowd were even treated to a double encore. Heres to another 25 years of this fantastic band.
Photographs: Chris Bowley
Review: Shaz Rafferty