Gig review: THE LEVELLERS – A Curious Life

The Levellers - A Curious Life

In the coming months The Levellers are taking to the road for a series of live acoustic gigs along with the screening of ‘A Curious Life’, a documentary covering the band’s 27 years of folk rock mayhem.

The film opens with an interview with bass player, Jeremy Cunningham, in his flat which by his own admission is a small step up from the squats he used to inhabit, none of the millionaire rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles for these guys. Jeremy is your main guide in the documentary and his passion for the band is infectious.

There are also interviews with Jeremy’s mother and father who are very proud of their son and what he has achieved with the band, although his mother does reveal that she is a bit disturbed by some of his artwork at times. There are many interviews during the film with all the band and all the main players in the band’s history which are both entertaining and enlightening.

The film features lots of rare footage of the band including video of one of their first shows and an appearance on The Big Breakfast with Zig and Zag, the highlight of any band’s career I should think.

The band’s infamous mainstage appearance at Glastonbury 1992 is also covered including an interview with Michael Eaves. Mark Chadwick reveals during the footage that the sight of the estimated 80,000 strong crowd going wild and singing along with every word during the set was the moment he realised how big the band had become.

The documentary also covers the darker times with Jeremy discussing his heroin battles and talking about the drink and drug habits which had affected the rest of the band at one time or another. As is the nature of The Levellers though, when one has a problem the rest rally round and they come out stronger on the other side.

We are also treated to a look round Levellers HQ, The Medway, which is as chaotic as you would expect, you have to access Jeremy’s art studio by crawling through the bottom half of the door which was kicked in after the lock broke! Having their own studio within the complex though has allowed the band to control their own albums and recordings which has given them freedom to do what they want and record what they like without any outside influences.

The fact that The Levellers have had a 27 year career to date is testament to the quality of the music and the loyalty of the dedicated fans, many of whom have supported the band from the early days.

The alternative title of the documentary is ‘A potted journey through 25 years subsidised dysfunctionalism’ which is very apt. This is a very open and entertaining film from a group who have been through the mill both personally and in the media but have stuck to their beliefs and principals and continue to rock crowds across the country.

‘There’s only one way of life’, for The Levellers – never a truer word has been said.


Review by David Wilson


January 2015
28th SALISBURY City Hall
29th PONTARDAWE Arts Centre
30th MALVERN Forum Theatre
31st DUBLIN St Patricks Cathedral*

February 2015
1st CANTERBURY Marlowe Theatre
24th ISLE OF WIGHT Shanklin Theatre
26th LONDON Union Chapel
27th LEEDS Town Hall
28th BEXHILL De La Warr Pavilion

March 2015
1st WARWICK Arts Centre
3rd NORTHAMPTON Derngate
5th BUXTON Opera House
6th LIVERPOOL Philharmonic Hall
7th BATH Forum
*Acoustic gig only

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