Folk punk legends The Levellers will be making their third trip to Shetland next week for what is hoped to be a sell-out concert in Clickimin on Wednesday.
Singer, harp-player and guitarist Mark Chadwick is excited about renewing his contacts with Shetland which he says is an amazing place, with audiences, as is common throughout Scotland, who seem to get what The Levellers are about.
The Levellers will be ably supported by their own local tribute act, The Revellers, who of course have branched out with their own acclaimed numbers, and likewise play a similar high-energy set.
Chadwick said that he was looking forward to playing on the same stage with The Revellers again – high praise indeed for a tribute band.
The Levellers, who have released 10 studio albums and will be touring again after the release of their Greatest Hits double album in autumn, are still fired lyrically by a quest for social justice rooted strongly in the traditions of eco-protest and the new age traveller lifestyle of the 1990s.
They unforgettably headlined the 2011 Tall Ships event, braving wintry conditions in July to do so. They were in Shetland around a decade before that, playing two gigs in the same day at the Lerwick British Legion, the second impromptu and on the back of the success of the first.
Musically they are sticking to the unmistakable sound that combines passion and exuberance with a distinctive blend of folk, punk and rock – and is distinctly British, devoid of influences from across the Atlantic, according to Chadwick.
Their musical message is just as relevant today, but while environmental issues have reached the media mainstream, society as a whole has become depoliticised, with a seemingly indifferent populace and little to differentiate among the mainstream political parties.
Chadwick said that young people seem to have fallen victim to this malaise, but that does not mean there is a generational gap in The Levellers audience.
While many of the fan base first got into the Levellers two decades ago when their anthemic hits got frequent airplay, that flame has been passed down to the next generation – tuneful, power-packed energy never going out of fashion.
The Levellers extended their social ideals to set up a self-managing collective with their own studio, label and annual Beautiful Days festival. That empowering process led to them becoming unexpected survivors of the UK’s famously fickle music industry.
The band’s reinvention came after a low ebb when “a train wreck of drink, drugs and creative drought” followed their phenomenal success between 1988 and 1998.
Their Shetland date comes in the midst of a North of Scotland tour including Kirkwall, Wick and Aberdeen.