Reviewed July 9, 1992.
With plenty of “hups” and “heps” and a 6-feet-tall, rail-thin, top hat-wearing fiddler leading the charge, British band the Levellers fired off a barrage of blistering guitars and shifting rhythms over a bone-crushing bottom end during their action packed set at the Roxy last Thursday.
Stopping here as part of a nationwide tour of 26 one-night stands to drum up support for its debut Elektra Records disc “Levelling The Land,” the quintet raced through its set of Hee Haw gone Celtic-punk material, bouncing and maneuvering around each other on stage like F-16s trying to avoid heat-seeking missiles.
Fiddler Jon Sevink’s combination non-stop, manic energy and sure-fire skill would have impressed the first chair of a philharmonic, while the guitar-playing lead vocalist Mark Chadwick–a sort of headbanging troubadour–rallied the crowd belting out the band’s message-laden tunes with unmatched fervor.
The sharp harmonica solo by Simon Friend on “Another Man’s Cause”–one of the strongest songs on the disc–raised the tune a dimension above its recorded counterpart. “Sell Out” and “One Way,” the latter a current single, were particular crowd faves.
Opener Uncle Green–the name has nothing to do with an environmental posture, as some have suggested–displayed plenty of youthful fire, drawing tunes from its Atlantic debut, “Book of Bad Thoughts.”
The disc sports several potential radio faves, but the band’s Beatles-influenced (“Sgt. Pepper’s,””White Album”) material and bar-band stage style may be too derivative than just inspired to set them apart in the marketplace.