DVD review: LEVELLERS – A Curious Life

LEVELLERS - A Curious Life

OTF Recordings [Release date 27.04.15]

This film tells the story of the Levellers through the perspective of the band’s bass player Jeremy Cunningham. The film is directed by Dunstan Bunce, former frontman of Chumbawamba.

His parents are the unlikely stars as they have such pride in their son and his fellow band members – they went to their first gig and have lots of memorabilia. His dad also has a great store of one liners!

The film covers the band’s career mainly between 1988 to 1998. Jeremy takes us through the official Levellers archive (not as grand as it sounds and organised chaos) and you get a look into his life outside of the band, including his art and passion for history.

It touches on Jeremy’s heroin years which he is frank about and the fact the drink and drunks nearly wrecked the band, before they came back stronger with their own festival Beautiful Days and they are still pulling the fans in at gigs.

All the band members, plus a few ex-members and managers are interviewed, and you can see what a close unit they are and that they do take collective decisions, they don’t really have a band leader.

Some good parts too with their love/hate relationship with the British press and a certain bass player even sent a poo to the NME following a less than complimentary review! Also the band’s successful Glastonbury appearance is covered and again a certain bass player used the ‘c’ word live on stage, much to organiser’s Michael Eavis’ disgust as he doesn’t like swear words apparently.

A fascinating insight into one of the most unique and individual bands of the past twenty five or so years. They never have and never will conform the what the music industry and press would expect and all the more power to them for this. You can see they are all genuinely there for the music and their fans, which explains why the band are still so popular today. A ‘must have’ for their many fans.  ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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