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The Levellers ready to play gig at Lincoln's Engine Shed

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 06, 2012

Better with age: Like a mature cheese or a fine wine, The Levellers keep honing their performance to get better and better

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They say that the best things in life get better with age – from a mature cheese and a fine wine to your favourite folk-rock protest band.

Take The Levellers, for example. The band formed 24-years-ago in 1988, but earlier this year they released their tenth and arguably best studio album to date, Static on the Airwaves.

After almost a quarter century of writing, recording and playing live, Static on the Airwaves sees the band at their most accomplished, tackling issues from global conflict and British troops in Afghanistan to last year's London riots.

In support of the album, The Levellers are embarking on an 11-date jaunt across the country, including a stop at Lincoln's Engine Shed on Friday, November 16.

But how does a band with so many miles on the clock shake things up year after year, tour after tour?

To mirror the 21st century themes in the 21st century songs from their 21st century album, The Levellers are bringing a brand new tour this time around for their 21st century fans.

"We're putting a bit more technology in our show this time and we've been feeding it in gradually at the summer festivals," explains bass player and lyricist Jeremy Cunningham.

"We're a very visual band and I do all our own artwork, so we've been using photo montages and films to express the songs.

"But one thing we're excited about is little cameras we've put at the end of our guitars which feed onto a big screen, so you really get a feel of what it's like to be on stage with the band.

"People can either jump up and down to some of the live favourites or they can watch is doing our thing and have a bit more interaction. It's a big difference from our pervious shows."

There's no denying The Levellers know their way around a live show. In 1994 they played to the biggest crowd at Glastonbury to date and anyone who has seen their live recording of a 1996 show in Blackpool, titled Headlights, White Lines, Black Tar Rivers, will know to expect the unexpected from one of their gigs.

They're renowned for their live shows and despite their longevity, The Levellers still have the ability to put on a lively performance and getting everyone – whether it be in a room or a field – dancing.

But what's important to the band – and has been since those early days in Brighton in 1988 – is that their fans new and old have one night to escape into music that they love.

"We want to play songs from the new album because they're interesting to us," adds Jeremy.

"With some of the old stuff that we have to play, we can fall ill with them and have to rest them for a bit.

"But we're aware that people want to come and rock out with what they know and love, so we have to compromise with what people want and build our set around that.

"We've been going for so many years now and we've made friends all around the country and all over the world. No matter where we are, we always have a lot of guests who want to turn up and maybe play an extra instrument on a song, like the squeeze box or something like that.

"So there might be a few surprise on the way on this tour – for the audience and for us as well.

"We don't want to oppress people with our views – what we want is for our fans to listen and it's up to them whether they agree or not.

"What's important for us is that we have a party atmosphere and that our fans can escape from their normal lives and have a good night."

Tickets for The Levellers at Lincoln's Engine Shed, on Friday, November 16, are on sale now priced £22.50 plus booking fee.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.engineshed.co.uk or call the ticket booking line on 0844 888 8766.

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  October 06 2012, 12:35PM

    "... they can watch is doing our thing ..." "... a big difference from our pervious shows." Did the Echo not think to check with Mr Cunningham whether he intended to include such fundamental errors in his quotes?

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