Return of the folk heroes
TWENTY years on there's plenty of life in the Levellers yet – they remain one of the best live bands in any genre.
Hear and see for yourself tomorrow night as they headline Looe Festival, a weekend knees-up involving over 83 acts.
The revival of the folk acoustic scene has served the Brighton lads well, as bass player Jeremy Cunningham explains.
"The last few years have been very good for us and we've come full circle," he says.
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"Ten years ago we were considered boring but nowadays even the kids think we are cool!"
Known for their alternative lifestyle and outspoken political views, they hit the ground running with debut offering Levelling The Land back in 1991 and acquired that formidable live reputation.
They also sold more platinum, gold and silver albums in the Nineties than any other British act.
Last year they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a sold-out tour in which they performed the debut album in its entirety.
Earlier this year they released Static On The Airwaves, their most mature offering to date.
"Unlike most bands we've never been afraid of singing about what we believe. And we're still angry, but we've grown up now so this is protest music for adults.
"Nowadays we tend to agonise over everything to get the words right so as not to simplify or trivialise big situations.
"Twenty years ago we were into big slogans but you can't get away with that when you're 40."
Issues include globalisation and conflict in songs such as Recruiting Sergeant, while After The Hurricane plots the changes in the US regime from Bush to Obama.
Despite the serious issues conveyed in the lyrics, there's always room for euphoria in the music itself and much of the success of recording this time was due to input from Plymouth's own Sean Lakeman.
"We're an absolute nightmare to work with and so slack at turning up on time," confesses Jeremy.
"Sean is especially good at sorting us all out. He booked us a studio right out in the sticks outside Prague so we couldn't get too distracted.
"He's a friend with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things musical and he's got an exceptional pair of ears which means he can say it needs an F-sharp or whistle a few notes which fill a hole in a song to keep it all together."
Expect a handful of the new songs among the old favourites in Looe.
"It'll be the same old chaos on stage, the usual bang, smash, wallop but brilliant fun."
By contrast The Levellers are also embarking on a tour of intimate venues which stops off at Exeter Cathedral on September 26.
Check out the Looe Festival lineup at www.looemusic.co.uk