Monday, 23 February 2015

REWIND: Levellers - 'Barrel Of A Gun'

A lot of the bands I was obsessed with in the 90s ended up splitting up and reforming during recent years. But the Levellers have always been there. I've lost count of the amount of times I've watched them play live, and there's a good reason for that: they are fucking incredible. I don't need an excuse to feature one of their songs on RW/FF, but (other than the fact that it's awesome) there is an extra reason why I'm featuring this version of 'Barrel Of A Gun' today... Described by John Robb as “The brilliant and heart-warming tale of a dysfunctional band”, ‘A Curious Life’ is a film about the Levellers and their unique career. 

Told through the unique perspective of Jeremy Cunningham, the band’s bass player and artist, and directed by former Chumbawamba frontman Dunstan Bruce, the film focuses on the Levellers phenomenal success between 1988 and 1998 before nearly disintegrating in a train wreck of drink, drugs and creative drought. However, despite reaching their lowest ebb, the band never split up and after a few years in the wilderness they re-invented themselves as a self-managing collective with their own studio, label and Beautiful Days festival, and in the process became unexpected survivors of the UK's famously fickle music industry.

Funny, warm and highly entertaining, ‘A Curious Life’ is, in Dunstan’s own words, “A potted journey through 25 years of subsidised dysfunctionalism; an uplifting tale of battling demons that reminds us that behind every band there is a story of struggle for expression, acceptance and survival."

Each screening of the film will then be followed by a full live acoustic gig by the band themselves, who will be performing acoustic arrangements of songs from their recently released Greatest Hits, alongside many other live favourites from across their 27 year career. Dates can be found below. An acoustic version of the raging anti-war gem 'Barrel Of A Gun' can be found on the debut album 'A Weapon Called The Word', but this superb version of the song is from their 1989 'Outside/Inside' EP. Essential. You can read an epic article HERE that I wrote last year on the history of this incredible band, which also features an interview with frontman Mark Chadwick. Around the same time I also hosted a RW/FF Radio Special where I spoke to Mark and played some of my favourite Levellers tracks. That can be listened to HERE.


February 2015
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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