Opening Bands: Dan Donnelly
Date: January 22nd 2006
Venue: The Red Lion, NYC
I saw the Levellers for the first time last month in London. A few weeks after that, I found out Mark Chadwick, the lead singer of the Levellers was playing in NYC for a special show with Dan Donnelly & Sonovagun. Mark & Dan, along with a few people were going to also perform some Clash songs, which made the show even more intriguing. I was excited to get the chance to see Mark perform some Levellers song acoustically, but to hear Mark do some Clash songs was gonna be awesome! The Levellers have covered a few Clash songs before so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised he was doing a Clash tribute set.
The show was at the Red Lion, a pub on Bleeker Street, and I got there about an hour early. I’d rather get to a place an hour early instead of getting there late. You never know how NYC traffic is gonna be. The parking really sucked because the pub was near NYU and it was a Sunday night as well. The show didn’t start exactly at 7 because of some audio problems but that was okay because my party and I got some food. I almost mistakenly ordered curry fries, thinking it was curly fries. Yeah I wouldn’t have like curry fries at all! Curry smells like a dead body wrapped in garbage.
Dan Donnelly, an Irish singer who lives in New York now, opened the show up with some of his songs and they were really good. Dan’s voice sounded very familiar to me but I never really heard of his music before, besides the songs on Myspace. He’s a really talented guy, and the stuff he was saying in between songs was funny to. I liked that one song about David Gray, it got the crowd smiling. Definitely check out Dan’s solo shows or with his band Sonovagun in New York; or if you are in England, Dan will be touring over there in April. And I’m almost 98 percent sure he’ll be at the Levellers’ Beautiful Days Festival in the UK in August as well.
After Dan got done with his material, it was time for the singer & guitarist of the Levellers to come up and sing some songs. I’m such a big Levellers fan, and hearing the songs electric or acoustically, they all sound awesome to me. Mark said that he has been drinking non-stop so to bare with him (or something along those lines) but he still played great! Mark opened the set up with “Carry Me,” with Dan playing harmonica and playing guitar as well. I’m not certain but I think Mark joked about how Dan looked like he had a headgear on haha. After that, not sure what songs were played in what order but he played “Beautiful Day,” “Celebrate,” “Fifteen Years,” “Julie,” “Galahad,” “Confess,” and finished the set with the classic song “One Way.” I think for the second song, he asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. Someone said “Maid of the River” and Mark quickly denied that. I screamed out “Haven’t Made It” but I guess Mark didn’t hear it. Oh well, I’ll hear that damn song live one of these days. I loved hearing “Celebrate” live because it’s one of my favorites off the Mouth to Mouth album. I was happy to hear “Fifteen Years” as well because the Levellers didn’t play that in London when I was there in December. I was surprised to hear “Galahad” because that song is a B side off Wild As Angels EP. I still liked the song though.
The crowd was mostly Levellers fans it seemed, and the crowd size wasn’t that big at all, which made the show more enjoyable. I was afraid the pub was gonna be jam-packed and I wouldn’t be able to see the show. Even though Mark said he was drinking all weekend, he did a great job of playing the songs with Dan. I really hope Mark or Simon come back to NYC to play some more secret shows in the near future. Dan should just join the Levellers and be done with it haha. I guess if the Levellers ever decided to call it the quits, Mark & Dan could join a band together and rock out to some punk songs or something. But let’s hope the Levellers never break up.
Speaking of punk, the show wasn’t over after the Levellers stuff. Mark and Dan were then joined by more people on stage (Including Ali McMordie of Stiff Little Fingers) to do mostly Clash songs. Plus a few other punk classics! Mark and Dan were up front playing guitar and singing, and then you had Sonovagun as well. They opened the set with “Police on my Back,” which the Levellers cover from time to time. That sounded awesome and I got all excited and had to take the camera to the front. I got a nice spot to snap some pictures and annoyed the band with my flash. After that, I heard a familiar riff, and realized they were playing “Alternative Ulster.” That’s one of my favorite Stiff Little Fingers’ songs (well, besides “Tin Soldier”) I really think “Alternative Ulster” was the best song of the night and I think most people might agree with me…maybe not but whatever, I thought so! Mark mentioned the reason they were playing Clash songs because they wished they were all in the Clash but also to support Strummerville (Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music: http://strummerville.com). Dan sang most of the punkier songs, while Mark backed him up on choruses and just played guitar. The group also played The Clash’s version of “Police & Thieves,” “Guns of Brixton (which I love by the way!),” “English Civil War (Another song the Levs cover)” and The Undertone’s “Teenage Kicks.” I thought they played something else but I’m not sure what song it was. They played “Guns of Brixton” and “Police & Thieves” kind of long… with solos, and a bit of dub & instrumentals thrown in there. Now that I think of it, I think they finished with the “Teenage Kicks.” The punk stuff was a perfect way to end the night.
The night was great because three different styles of music were played. Dan opened the show, then Dan joined Mark Chadwick for some Levellers songs, and then finish the night with some classic Clash & punk songs. Doesn’t get much better than that. Well I guess seeing the Levellers would have been fantastic but I’ll take whatever shows I can get from the guys. I just hope the Levellers get their asses over here and play already. You know I’ll be at every show in this area that’s for sure! It’s been almost three years since the band has been back here. So a plea to the Levellers if you are reading this, PLEASE COME OVER TO THE STATES! Even it’s for a week on the east coast, that’s all I ask. Screw the west coast haha.