Months ago, the opening act for this Levellers gig was voted for by the public in an online contest held by Hastings Pier Weekender organisers One Inch Badge, what a prize and what a great choice too!
As Hastings’ very own Matilda’s Scoundrels took to the stage you could tell they’d been looking forward to today.
A healthy sized crowd had gathered for the local act and they got the afternoon off to a lively start with their Folk Punk sound. Judging by the reactions, they’ve picked up some new fans today, including me.
Their debut album, ‘Shackles and Bones’ is in the pipeline, as I’m sure are many more gigs.
The Folk Rock and dancing continued with Ferocious Dog up next. These guys will be supporting Levellers on the European leg of their tour and really do pair up well with them. As they started, a friend said to me they “needed a bounce” and there was plenty of opportunity for that with such a highly energetic set mixing mandolin, violin and electric guitar.
For the penultimate band of the day, Turin Brakes, there was a change of tempo, and a chance to catch your breath.
Alongside their biggest hit to date, ‘Painkiller’, was the title track to their new album, ‘Lost Property’. There was laughter as bass player Eddie Myer announced that he had lived in Hastings in the ‘80s saying it was “like living in a friendly war zone”.
Then, with the call to dance from the didgeridoo and much cheering, Levellers made their entrance. It’s hard to believe that ‘Levelling the Land’ is now 25 years old and hearing it performed live on Hastings Pier was definitely something special.
To me, they always sound at their best outdoors and as they made their way through the very familiar track listing it was clear just how much this album is loved.
To the amusement of the crowd, singer Mark Chadwick then announced that they would be playing a few songs from different albums and “if you only got ‘Levelling the Land’ you’re a bit scuppered!”, but ‘Carry Me’ and ‘Beautiful Day’ didn’t scupper this crowd!
Another reason to smile was the t-shirt for the tour which has Hastings right at the top of the list of venues, being part of a large group of locals who love Levellers, this was fantastic to see.
There was an incredibly friendly and happy feeling to this gig and, with the amount of dancing and bouncing there was on the day, we can definitely say the new timbers on our ‘new’ Pier have passed the strength test!
Here’s to many more!