Date: September 26th, 2016
Opening Band: Casey Neill
The second part of the Levellers’ “Levelling The Land” US/Canada tour was a stop at Bowery Ballroom in NYC. The previous night in Brooklyn was a stellar start to the tour and the show at Bowery was equally awesome!
Just like the previous night, we had newbie Levellers fans coming with us. We brought like 4 other people with us but wish it was more. Sunday and Monday shows are tough for people; I usually dread them but not this time. But the best way to get people ready is with some delicious food at Madison Square Eats market on 23rd street and some alcohol. Well they drank, I was a fat ass and had an ice cream sandwich. After that, we took the subway down to Bowery Ballroom and hung out in the bar for awhile.
The show started a half hour later than it did at Music Hall of Williamsburg for some reason. I noticed there were more people this show, which was nice to see. I think if the band toured the US more and even did some co-headline gigs with other artists, they could get more of a demand at their shows. You’re telling me a New Model Army/Levellers or Frank Turner/Levellers tour in the US wouldn’t do extremely well? Guess NMA needs to find a way into the US since Visas are getting pretty hard to obtain these days.
Casey Neill opened up the show again, but just a half hour later. I decided to stick around and watch his set this time. While a lot of the music was a little slow for me, he was still a good singer/songwriter. He mentioned how the Levellers were a big influence on him, particularly the Levelling The Land album. He had a song that was upbeat and was clearly influenced by the Levs and similar bands. I wish he played more songs like that though.
I thought since The Levellers played in Brooklyn the night before that they might have switched up the set a little after Levelling the Land. That wasn’t the case but I’m not really complaining, since I’m happy they were even here to begin with. It’s a bonus they played two nights in town so I have no complaints at all! Beats having to fly to London again, although I’d love to go back there soon. Would be nice to schedule a vacation around a Levellers show in Germany or something too. Somewhere different.
As soon as “One Way” came on again, I was up front taking pictures and dancing away like the previous night. I was practically in the same spot I was for the Brooklyn show. I would have picked another spot if other people didn’t get there first. Not sure but the way they played “One Way” both nights in NY seemed like it was played faster. It definitely felt more energetic than other times I’ve seen them. Matt was in the background wailing on the drums, next to Charlie. Not only can Matt play the keys, but also the drums and the guitar too. He just needed to add some cymbals on his knees to complete the multi-tasking musician. Mark was in good spirits, making fun that they were professionals when his guitar strap came loose or when he broke guitar string. When the band was playing “Carry Me,” he wanted the crowd to sing along and even told us to “make shit up” if we didn’t know the words. That got a good laugh from the crowd.
I could listen to Levelling The Land album every day (I sometimes do) so hearing the same set back to back nights wasn’t a problem. “The Game,” “15 Years,” “Liberty Song,” “Sellout” and “Far From Home” all were highlights for me. It’s been 4 years since last seeing the Levellers in London but it seems like they have picked up the pace on “The Game” believe it or not. Sounds absolutely amazing live! “The Boatman” is a fun one to dance to as well, and love when Boakes is playing the didgeridoo after it. Of course can’t forget “The Road” and “Riverflow” either. Levelling The Land is such a classic album that if I was a stranded on a desert island, I’d definitely would pick that album. I guess I would need something to play the album on though. After the album was played from start to finish, Stephen Boakes came back out to play with the band on “This Garden.”
“Belarus” was played and then “Truth Is” from their newest album Static on the Airwaves. I saw the band play this album when it came out, so it was cool to hear a few from that album at the time. It would have been great to hear Simon sing “We Are All Gunmen” or even “Second Life.” Not sure if that one was ever played live though. “Cholera Well” and “Devil Went Down To Georgia” finished the set again. Mark was commenting about “since they are nothing but ridiculous, they were going to play this song” and “forgive his accent.” That got more laughs and applause from the crowd. My friend who never saw the band before certainly loved the Levs for playing for the song.
After the band took a few minutes to take a break, they came back to play…of course…”What A Beautiful Day” and “What You Know.” By this point my legs were just so tired from dancing the last 2 nights. That still didn’t stop me from pogoing and whatever other embarrassing dancing styles I was doing. What can I say about these last two nights that hasn’t already been said already. They were simply amazing and just had an amazing time. I got to watch my favorite band with friends who never saw The Levellers before. I’d rather watch my favorite band play the US for the first time in 13 years then watch 2 Presidential candidates (I despise) debate for 90 minutes. I would have probably thrown the remote at the TV. So thank you Levellers for playing NYC two nights FINALLY! I know the crowds weren’t exactly sell outs but please come back again soon!
Here are some of our favorites from the night at Bowery Ballroom: