live reviews

ROCK The Levellers

Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 1 Mar

**‘k Only the very foolish or the supremely confident could come on stage while the closing chords of 'Anarchy In The UK' are still reverberating around the hall. Five seconds after they pick up their instruments, we know which camp The Levellers belong to. They slam instantly, automatically, into gear, as only a band with a million (probably) gigs behind them can. The rhythm section locks together, the dreadlocked bassist thrashing around so much that no one dare stand near him for fear of being whipped into the nearest casualty ward. Most vital of all, perhaps, is electric violinist Jon Sevink, who sets up a siren-like flurry and tosses it into the mélée. Whatever anyone might say about them - and some uncomplimentary things are routinely bandied around - The Levellers can't be accused of not being able to cut it live.

And once they've put their cards on the table, what do they do then? Well. they pogo, at every opportunity, as though the Pistols tracks that preceded the set were a warning of their terpsichorean preferences rather than an attempt to establish cross-generational agit- pop links. Despite all claims to the contrary, they’re a folk band, albeit a hell of a loud one. At times, it would only take the snap of singer Mark Chadwick's finger to turn the throng beneath the stage into an undisciplined jig or hoedown, even while they're punching the air and mouthing along with lyrics that point the finger at the ones who ‘sold us down the river’.

Only on a couple of songs do the

band rage so hard that the tell-tale melodies of their native isles are crushed under the weight of a turbo- charged rock ’n’ roll bulldozer. And then there's the dubby, but sprightly, new single, 'Too Real', a song that even people who don't like The Levellers can get into.

In truth leaving aside the not unreasonable assumption that this kind of stuff isn't to everyone's taste - there’s not a lot that people who don't like The Levellers can find to pick apart here. Weaknesses in songs are covered up by their spirited playing, and



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Chadwick's voice is strong and clear in places where it might be expected to descend into a throaty rasp. Even the acoustic interludes (which allow second guitarist and David Caruso lookalike Alan Miles to sing lead for a couple of numbers) grow naturally out of the set. and not a single stool is brought out from the wings. While they're out planting trees to balance the environmental damage caused by the tour, The Levellers’ own bulldozer shows no signs of slowing down. (Alastair

ROCK Mover Glasgow: King Tut's, 27 Feb fir ir

For what it‘s worth, Mover come with a Radio One Breakfast Show endorsement (of the Kevin Greening order rather than the Zoe Ball 'isn't the bass player cute?’ variety). Even in these days of rapid fire marketing when Radio One can muscle in on the act of breaking new bands on their first single, could it be possible that they have jumped off the fence too early with Mover?

Everything about this band screams that they are not ready for national headline tours. They are the vaguely promising third on the bill at the

weekly indie club night. They are your mate’s sister's boyfriend’s band you get dragged unwillingly to see and leave feeling relieved that they’re not the cats' chorus you thought they might be. Actually, they're alright.

They at least have confidence in the face of general indifference (most of the crowd were here to see their mate’s sister's boyfriend's band playing third on the bill), and launch into an upbeat ditty right away. One song in and they even decide to go for a bit of tight harmonising - it comes off! Result! Dare they try some other sparky embellishment? Nah, best not to stretch themselves too soon. So everything else they play is JUSi standard indie half-tunes with a touch

of 60s beat gUitars. Not lukewarm enough to rail against, just merry stuff that washes over you.

Their singer adopts the simian prowl patented by Ian Brown and perpetuated by Richard Ashcroft, while the group as a whole look like some scally/mod hybrid. Aforementioned Breakfast Show favourite ’Tricolore' marks a kind of mid-set peak and just about cuts through to the realms of the memorable. However, before negativity or boredom have a chance to set in, Mover sensibly quit the stage. A support slot-length set for a band who have maybe found their true vocation? Some bands will always be the bridesmaid - let's hope Mover develop beyond that. (Fiona Shepherd)

live reviews MUSIC ' Nick Heyward

Glasgow: King Tut's, 21 Feb it

As a general rule of thumb, you know that you're in trouble when you leave a concert discussing what a Nice Guy you're sure the performer is. Now, this isn't always the case: it is possible to pick up strongly on an artist’s Nice Guy Vibe while still being caught up in the whole rolling rock wonder that is his or her art. Take, for instance, Mark E Smith. Okay, that's a bad example. Lou Reed, then. No, that doesn’t work either. Keith Richards, eh, Madonna . . . right, right, no, okay. We'll come back to this.

Got one . Edwyn Collins. Edwyn seems like a nice enough guy, but, upon reflection, is perhaps a little too nice for the purpose of this example, so we'll stretch the parameters a mite and say Iggy Pop. A smiling Iggy Pop. When Iggy Pop smiles that big Boy David Cassidy grin of his in the middle of a performance, it's with a laser intensity which bores a hole a brief hole, soon sealed, but a hole nevertheless right through the heart of whatever howling psychodrama is collapsing all around, and the intrinsic, fundamental iiiceness of the man comes a-pouring through, nests and makes a home of your heart. This, you think, is a nice man, one who would speak to your mother with respect. Unless she pissed him off.

Nick Heyward, though. Nice polo- neck. Nice twinkly eyes. Just seems like a nice guy through and through. Granted, he cracks a line or two about wondering what to do with his ex- girlfriend’s thrush cream after she's left him, but in a nice way. He's onstage along with his acoustic guitar and his acoustic guitar-playing friend, who also tinkers with the one-handed keyboard and, yes, seems a nice enough big lad. The songs strum along in a nice early summery way and seem littered with references to roller- blading and other bands The Clash, The Jam, The Jesus and Mary Chain - who went about life in a slightly less brain-crushineg soporific manner. (Damien Love)

Nick Heyward: nice guy. unsurprisingly

t*** t** **


6-19 Mar 1998 TIIEUS‘N?