The Levellers Acoustic Tour Philharmonic Hall Liverpool 3rd March 2023





Five years after they set out on their hugely acclaimed 2018 Acoustic Tour, and released its companion album “We “The Collective”, The Levellers set off on their brand new Acoustic Tour in 2023 accompanied by a new album of acoustic reworkings of some of their finest compositions

All Music’s Warren Millar set off to the majestic Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool to catch the action.

Taking their name from the 17th century Levellers political movement, The Levellers are an English folk rock band formed in Brighton, England in 1988. The current lineup is

 Mark Chadwick – lead vocals, guitar, banjo

Jeremy “Jez” Cunningham – bass guitar, guitar, bouzouki, backing vocals

Charlie Heather – drums, percussion

Jonathan “Jon” Sevink – fiddle, violin, tin whistle

Matt Savage – keyboards, backing vocals

Dan Donnelly – guitar, mandolin, vocals

It’s a short trip into Liverpool City Centre on a cold Friday evening tonight and as we get near the venue the place is already quite busy with people out in town for a good night out, which after all is what we are also looking for and with the prospect of seeing one of the best folk/punk bands around we enter The Philharmonic Hall full of anticipation of what is about to unfold in front of us.

First up on The Philharmonic stage is Black Country Singer/songwriter “Jess Silk”.  Alone on such a big stage with just an acoustic guitar, we did wonder how Jess would fill the hall with her music, but hell did she do that! Her massive voice and skill on the guitar more than filled the space she had and the early punters got to see how it’s done solo in fine style. Her political/protest lyrical content in her songs did resonate with the Liverpool audience. Contrasting highs and lows in each song just added to the enjoyment of her short but most expertly delivered set. We loved her version of the Italian protest folk song “Bella Ciao” from the late 19th century that was used on the Spanish hit series Money Heist. All in all a great opening to the night.



After a quick interval, it was time for “The Levellers” to take to the stage. The Philharmonic is an all-seated venue and anyone that’s been to a Levellers gig knows that they are lively to say the very least. So it was interesting to see not only the audience seated but all the band seated on stage as well. We seemed to be heading for a much more chilled sort of gig from the guys. From the very first song “The Game” the chilled element of this gig just melted away and the raw and yet at the same time polished musicianship of “The Levellers” came to the front. The heavy drum beats, the chilled-out strings, the dancing fiddle playing the socially aware lyrics and the effortless harmonies were all well suited to the brilliant acoustics of the Philharmonic Hall and a real joy to listen to.   

This gig was something different in that the high energy they are well known for in the past has been replaced and it’s more of a listening experience with the music, lyrics and storytelling coming first and it’s a real musical extravagance to the ears. It’s top-quality stuff and Mark Chadwick’s voice is still full of folk/punk energy this combined with the brilliant musical talent from the rest of the band and in such a great acoustically balanced venue. Its relaxed and chilled but at the same time retaining that hard-hitting folk/punk vibe we all love about “The Levellers”

The band left the stage to a huge ovation but was soon back with a three-song encore ending with the bouncing “Just The One” ……… What an ending !!

So a change from what is expected from “The Levellers” a move on and a move in a slightly different direction as far as their gigs go but everyone seemed to have loved it and at the end of the day isn’t that what great bands do? They move on, they go forward with new ideas and if they can do that and still get the love from their fans well as said “That’s what great bands do”



Set List  

1/ The Game

2/ Lowlands of Holland

([traditional] cover)

3/ Liberty Song

4/ Battle of the Beanfield

5/ Wheels

6/ Drug Bust McGee

7/ Together All the Way

8/ Social Insecurity

9/ Man O’ War

10/ Julie

11/ Ghosts in the Water

12/Born That Way

13/ Haven’t Made It

14/England My Home

15/ The Boatman

16/ The Cholera Well

17/ The Road

18/ Far From Home


19/ Hope St.

20/ Down by the River ‘O’

(Rev Hammer cover)

21/ Just the One