Live Review: A Beautiful Day Out (The Levellers / Ferocious Dog / Peat And Diesel / The Lovely Eggs / Bar Stool Preachers / Jess Silk) – Millenium Square, Leeds 22.07.2023

Phil Pountney

The Levellers curated ‘A Beautiful Day Out’ hadn’t forwarded the memo onto the heavens as it was a continuously grey, wet and drizzly Saturday afternoon in Leeds, but the swathes of Levellers and Ferocious Dog shirts didn’t let this dampen their spirits at all.

The afternoon kicked off with the lone figure of Jess Silk, and her acoustic guitar, entertaining us with her brand of folk rock and she had us all transfixed for the entirety of her set. The set progressed with momentum and Jess even injected her own unique brand of a circle pit towards the end of her set which saw the gathered faithful create an opening in the crowd and gather round as if a camp fire was roaring away in the centre of it whilst the camp site attendees emotionally singing the words back at the stage as if they were each members of Jess’s long lost family.

Next up were the Bar Stool Preachers and they hit the stage like a group of rabid dogs, ferocious and forceful from the off, they delivered their style of folk punk rock and delivered it with an endearing attitude which became quite mesmerising and charming, each fraction of the band put their all into creating the spectacle that stood before the drizzle soaked crowd.

The band had drawn a significant crowd considering the time of the day, and their placement on the billing, and as the set progressed the crowd swelled more and more until by the time they were bidding us a fond farewell the gathered masses stood before them were almost of headliner magnitude.

The Lovely Eggs were next and with them they brought their own unique spectacle, presenting as a duo, the stage looked to almost swamp them until they kick started their set. Blending from a mini soundcheck into the first track almost seamlessly the output got turned up a notch and it was clear to see, judging by the thinning of the crowd, the resulting tracks were somewhat of a niche sound.

Holly Ross was very reminiscent of an angst ridden Courteney Love back in the day, pouring her heart and soul into the riffs and vocals she energetically generated, however an unfortunate guitar malfunction stopped one of the early tracks in its flow and then when they attempted to jump start it into life it lasted a mere couple of verses before Ross and Blackwell decided to ditch it and move on with the set list
regardless. This was a set which needed your full attention to be able to understand it, and possibly more time than a forty minute mid afternoon set volunteered them today.

As Peat And Diesel took to the stage it was obvious that these were firm favourites with the crowd and could be looked upon as one of the main supports for the evening. Once the set had got underway the crowd were asked ‘do you know who we are’ and as the roar was blasted back at the stage a humbled response was then delivered of ‘we thought you were only here for Ferocious Dog and The Levellers’, no gentleman, 99% of the crowd were undoubtedly here for you today, and with that they absolutely delivered with passion, energy and muscle.

Track after track was met with adulation, appreciation and a hunger for more, a thirst for more from the Scots and a need that was certainly met. The vocals were harmonious and the Celtic clan departed leaving us all on a high, wishing for more, and I’m sure many would join me in saying that we definitely need to catch up with Peat And Diesel again very soon, and by soon, I mean like yesterday.

The behemothic English folk punk titans then entered the fray and attacked with precision and passion. Ferocious dog had landed in Leeds with seemingly only one intention in mind, and that was to party. Bonsall secured the front and centre spot, guitar in hand, and absolutely rocked the square to its core, the whole crowd embraced the measured chaos and used it as a catalyst to soak up the revelry that was unfolding before them.

As folk anthem after folk anthem was unleashed, the ‘Hell Hounds’ adored and esteemed with every riff and chord that was bestowed upon them. The various stringed components intertwined with each other as if lifelong siblings and the might and influence from Wragg and Grainger was precise yet influential, constructing a titanium carcass on which the more delicate and intricate components could perch. Impressive sub headliners and surely a band who could have claimed headline status in their own rights, Ferocious Dog are a band who are rising through the ranks and with good reason. If you haven’t already, you need to welcome these into your life with open arms, you will not be disappointed.

As the sun then started to set we were suddenly hit with ‘Liberty’ and from the off you could tell, as always, this was going to be an evening not to be forgotten. The Levellers were back in town and as usual they were on point. The set was peppered with classics which stood beside newer tracks, but already these are fast becoming live set staples and much-loved beats of every Leveller’s fans heart. ‘England My Home’ was emotive and ‘Sell Out’ was powerful beyond belief. We then welcomed the now infamous lovable fluorescent painted character and his didgeridoo with open arms and then totally embraced a mighty ‘One Way’ with every single soul singing the lyrics high into the Leeds night sky with so much passion and gusto it was palpable.

A beautiful ‘Men-An-Tol’ embraced us and then a personal favourite of mine, ‘Dirty Davey’, took me straight back to the turn of the century. Chadwick orchestrated the whole event with his normal charismatic self, dispelling the vocals with clarity and dedication, while Jez stalked the stage with his usual dedication and unique identity and Dan Donnelly, now a firm fixture of the leveller’s family, appeared as if he had been in the ranks for many a year beyond his actual inclusion.

A magnificent ‘Riverflow’ then drew the main set to a close before the encore was unleashed with a delicate and passionate ‘Another Mans Cause’ before a monumental ‘15 Years’ carved us open and an enraptured ‘What A Beautiful Day’ ended the anthemic set and left us all in a huge state of euphoria.

I think I can confidently say that, without any degree of doubt, a beautiful day had certainly
been had by one and all.

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