The Levellers, The Mutts & 59 Violets at Hull City Hall - 29th March 04
By Steve Rudd
The Levellers have to be applauded for consistently inviting some brilliant bands to support them on tour.
Back in December 2003, Brighton rockabilly outfit She Said did the honours brilliantly, and this time around - for their 14-date, Anti-Apathy UK Spring 2004 tour - there were two brilliant bands to open for the sacred Levs.
First up, four-piece 59 Violets looked like an indie band, though the classic rock sound that they magically created sounded to owe much to the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Who.
The lead guitarist's riffs overwhelmingly dominated their sound to such an extent that the singer could barely be heard, but still the overall effect that these guys had was sensational.
In the lead guitar stakes if nothing else, Jimmy Page has a serious contender..
Brighton quartet The Mutts, similarly, jammed out pure rock 'n' roll and were far more energetic than 59 Violets.
In keeping with their band name of The Mutts, the live-wire frontman in Chris Murtagh sported a long, shaggy mane of hair and looked dapper in black shirt and slacks.
He actually looked hell of a lot like The Hives manic frontman Pelle, yet his moody, brooding voice was more reminiscent of the B-Line Matchbox Disaster singer's cravings for the dark side.
Some monumentally heavyweight bass grooves served their rock well through intensely adrenalised and breathlessly paced anthems such as Missing My Devil, with The Mutts truly being one of the coolest and self-assured rock 'n' roll bands doing the rounds.
It might have been six long years since Brighton boys The Levellers had last played in Hull, but still the venue was far from bursting at its seams.
It was busy, but the poor promotion of the gig meant that it seemed to be far from a sell-out.
Ironically, Sellout is one of the quintet's most popular songs that they graced their 90-minute set with.
Opening with Fifteen Years and following through with the melodic zest of The Game, they played many an anthem from their fabled Levelling The Land LP,
that has long been regarded by many hardcore fans as their finest hour on record.
Mixing and matching plenty of classic tunes from most of their albums including the Dirty Davey chant and Chernobyl-related Belaruse (both from their 1993 self-titled album),
and the unashamedly anthemic Beautiful Day and Too Real tunes (from their poppy Mouth To Mouth LP that attracted whole hordes of new converts to the band), The Levs always put on a super-energetic and enthusiastic show as though they're just stepping out into their career.
Still, it was the older material from their Levelling The Land-era that attracted most moshpit action and passionately rasping voices to sing along, loud and proud.
Indeed, their performances of The Road, the haunting, spine-chilling Another Man's Cause and the inspirational anthemic rock of Liberty Song were stunning, as was the first encore which HAD TO include One Way in due course - which is,
along with Beautiful Day, a staple tune that has more than penetrated the consciousness of all those people who want to live life to full, have fun and not feel ashamed of being different or, indeed, being individualistic in their ways.
As The Levellers declare so convincingly, There's only one way of life and that's your own.
And that's exactly why, in respect of both their attitudes and their fantastic music, The Levellers are my all-time favourite band.
I just hope that it isn't another six years before they return to Hull to play again, because I could go and see them play every single night and never get bored.
The men to thank are singer/guitarist Mark Chadwick, guitarist/singer Simon Friend, dread-locked bass-buster Jeremy Cunningham, fiddle maestro Jon Sevink and the cool, calm and collected Charlie Heather on drums.
On behalf of all the hardcore Levellers fans out and about, I salute you. You mean the world to me and always will.
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