Isle Of Wight Ryde Ice Rink

...the [a]Levellers[/a] are like their folksy cousins the morris dancers...

Despite our hopes to the contrary, tonight is not the [a]Levellers[/a] On Ice. Instead, this weekend the [a]Levellers[/a] are playing two shows here and a ‘secret’ acoustic set on Sunday afternoon at the pub up the road, which they’ve annexed for the weekend. And there’s not a hotel room to be had on the whole island.

See, the [a]Levellers[/a] are like their folksy cousins the morris dancers in that they’re deeply unfashionable, yet enjoy what politicians call ‘grass roots support’. Their fans are a loyal, bolshie bunch, if a little eccentric. If you imagine they work in banks all week and then re-enact English Civil War battles on Sundays you might be right, and judging by the various accents present, they’ve come far over hill and vale to be here.

The Levellers are in rude form tonight. Riding high on the positive reviews for new album ‘Hello Pig’, they storm and jig their way through ’90s favourites ‘Game’ and fatuous neo-hippy classic ‘One Way’. New stuff like ’61 Minutes Of Pleading’ is also received with rapture, but then they could cover ‘Barbie Girl’ and no-one would bat an eyelid. As this is most definitely a show for the fans – they also murder ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ in a hail of fiddles. It’s something of a [a]Levellers[/a] live classic, apparently.

Out on the edges of the rock’n’roll galaxy there are many bands like the [a]Levellers[/a]. Gerry And The Pacemakers and Lindesfarne both still tour perpetually, relying on the affection of their fans as they grow older together. Their songs are no longer relevant and nor is the [a]Levellers[/a]’ mythic agrarian rhetoric (if it ever was). It’s just nostalgia. Still, you have to admit that there’s something quite funny about a [a]Levellers[/a] gig you can only get to by hovercraft.