IT WAS a pleasant surprise when it was announced that The Levellers were named as the headline act for the weekend’s Coastival festival.
But it was more of a shock when I realised that it was two decades since the band released their breakthrough platinum-selling album – Levelling The Land.
It was a favourite listen for me when it was first released in 1991 and I have to admit I was quite looking forward to hearing the band play the album in its entirety as a warm-up for next month’s tour.
Support was from Tom Townsend Blues Band who are regulars at Thursday nights at the blues club in the Cask.
This extremely tight combo rattled through a number of classic blues tracks, from the likes of BB King and Memphis Slim, and made sure that the audience was warmed up nicely for the main act.
The Levellers kicked off with the classic opening track, One Way, and received a warm Scarborough welcome from the appreciative crowd.
It was seemlessly followed by The Game, 15 Years, Boatman, Liberty and Far From Home and it was good to hear that the tracks sounded just as fresh as they did 20 years ago.
There was even a dodgy Rolf Harris impression from singer Mark Chadwick following Stephen Boakes’ haunting and surreal didgeridoo solo.
After a few crowd-pleasing songs the band got on with the second side of the album which ended with an explosive version of the Battle Of The Beanfield.
The night was rounded off quite nicely with a few more favourite tunes; they bowed out with the anthemic Beautiful Day and the inevitable pub crawl that is Just The One.
The Levellers still perform with a passion and it was good to see them obviously having a good time on stage.
They have a reputation as one of the best live bands around and on Friday they confirmed this – if that was the warm-up then the forthcoming Levelling The Land Live tour will be a must-see gig.
Pictures by Ian Duncan