Review: The Levellers at Portsmouth Guildhall

Dylan Kelson, above, and Joseph Grout, below, let rip on stage

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‘They’re not hits – it’s all a lie,’ joked lead singer Mark Chadwick.

While the Levellers haven’t had many chart toppers of late, it’s safe to say the audience at Portsmouth Guildhall last night felt every song was a number one in its own right.

The folk-punk band are currently on a European tour promoting their Greatest Hits album – a catalogue of songs with some that have featured prominently in the top 40, and others that, well, haven’t.

But commercial success doesn’t seem to play a big part in the life of the Levellers.

And that’s the secret to their longevity.

They don’t care about making money – to entertain their huge fan base is what they live and work for.

And they certainly did that last night, launching into their biggest single, Beautiful Day, to kick off the evening.

Second song in was the classic 15 Years, which was quickly followed by other fan favourites such as Dog Train, Far from Home, Sell Out, This Garden, and of course, the anthem One Way.

Two encores saw the Brighton band finish off with the booze-fuelled Just the One (‘where can we get a late drink round here?’ asks Chadwick) and the manic Riverflow.

While the Levellers were the main attraction, it was made even more memorable thanks to the support band, The Selecter, whose energy and rhythms – sounding a bit like The Specials – saw the Guildhall crowd pumped up from the start.

What a beautiful night!