York Barbican Centre Review

As always I'm not too happy about getting in the middle of a big crowd, you never know what might happen. But in I go through a door with a big entrance sign on it, there's a couple of people at a bar and some more around a merchandise stand, so I head over there. Looking through the rows of t-shirts pinned up, there's a couple of recognizable CD's stuck up. Seems like they're selling the Lottery Winners On Acid single at gigs already. I'm reach in to my pocket and just as I'm about to pull out 4, Mr MacManus strolls up and say's hi. At least famous people talk to me. He explains how he's got better at playing guitar, and about some kids paying about 350 to get the band to play for them, and how he had to learn a load of old Crocketts songs for the gig. While he's explaining where they're gonna stay (at Andy's sisters place somewhere near Leeds), I'm wondering if I dare ask Davey if he could lend me some money for the single. Soon he leaves to go backstage, I find 4 in my pocket and go to buy the single, which looks really pretty, and thanks to whoever decided to put the web address of this site on the cover.

After figuring out the way in to the stage, I go and stand in the middle of a crowd maxing about 20 people. Twenty minutes later and it's not much better. There's about 200 people spread around a pretty big hall with a load of seats stuck up the back. The stage is looking an eerie green colour with a bit of smoke flying around, which changes to white when the band show up around 7.45. Andy's sporting his new skin-head look, while Owen's hair is getting a little out of control. No big reception from the crowd like at other gigs, but they pick up their instruments and get to work anyway.

Girl Just Died comes first, with the introduction of "If you want to see my happy side, better tell me my girl just died" which gets a little chuckle out of the tiny crowd,most of whom are there for The Levellers anyway. Things don't get off to a great start when Davey hits the wrong pedal near the end of the song and, if you excuse the very, very poor joke, his guitar just died.
Anyway, they leave that behind them and introduce a song Davey likes to call "it's raining financial advisors". Forgotten is a real nice sounding song, if I knew the words I'd sing along, but I didn't, so I tapped my fingers and swayed forwards and backwards.Very slowly. Any more and someone from the virtually still crowd would have noticed. Davey of course is stumbling all over the place with his guitar, almost back to the Crocketts days where he'd be all over the stage.
After a slight re-tune of Davey's guitar, Tragedy Rocks is played. Davey's got a strange stare going on, and then gets stamping the ground and doing some of his trademark shaking, which may have prompted the comment from one of the crowd after the song: "I'm sure that's Davey Crockett."
Lottery winners On Acid is next up, Davey's got the guitar part almost perfect, if it wasn't for the guitar pedals flying all over the floor. He's getting a bit pissed off with them. Owen on the other hand looks pretty happy on drums, grinning away as always.
Song five is introduced with "We're just a bunch of buffalo", and during Fred Flintstone, Davey's nodding his head, almost head butting the microphone.
After Bombay Sapphire Coma and Who Knows, which both sound alright, Davey say's "York. Thankyou very much. We're a band called The Crimea" which puzzles some of the crowd, now about 350 strong. Or weak.
Opposite Ends sounds pretty good, with a tiny new guitar bit in it which I liked. Davey's finally got his guitar pedals under control, but is now having problems with changing chords. Andy and Joe are singing along, but just as I'm waiting for the usual end song 'I Saw The Lord' to be played, the band put down there stuff and leave, with Owen taking his seat with him. All the people turning up on stage and dismantling stuff tells me that there's gonna be no encore, so I just stand around wanting a little more.

But that's it, 30 minutes and it's all over. All I can do now is make my way to the edge of the crowd, wait around for a while and watch the beginning of Goat Boy. When Joe spots me, he gives up packing away instruments to come and say thanks to me for coming. After he's left I make my way out, and after spotting Andy talking to a few people near the bar, I leave for home, to write a review and listen to their new single. Which I still haven't heard yet.
Oh and, if you're wondering why there's no photos of the gig, there were security guys all over the place getting people to stop using cameras/camcorders. So no bootleg vids of a gig just yet. Sorry.

Review by Christopher Friend, 16th September 2002.

Other Websites:

The Levellers - www.levellers.co.uk
Goat Boy - www.devilrock.com