REAL GONE GOES OUT: Levellers – Hall By The Sea, Dreamland, Margate, Kent 30/6/2018

Since the second re-opening of the Dreamland complex in Margate in 2017, the theme park has gone from strength to strength. While the big draw for many visitors has been the selection of nostalgic fairground rides, others have applauded the decision to use the Hall By The Sea as a legitimate venue for live gigs. Dreamland has played host to shows by Gorillaz (a sell out in minutes), Bat For Lashes, psych band Snapped Ankles (with some memorable visuals), Super Furry Animals and more besides. In February 2018, a double headliner between ska legends The Selecter and The Beat (featuring Ranking Roger) resulted in a classic night at the seaside. The Hall By The Sea has provided a brilliant and cool alternative to the frankly past-it Winter Gardens – a venue that still thinks that The Stylistics, the racism of Jim Davidson and a carpet from 1983 is what people really want.

Tonight, Brighton’s favourite sons, Levellers are the visiting dignitaries. They’d previously visited Margate in 2001 and 2004 for shows at the aforementioned Winter Gardens, but this is their first visit since the slow rejuvenation of the town slowly began not long after. The Hall By The Sea is, naturally, a far better fit for them – the spacious area is perfect for dancing, bouncing – and sweating – and the sound quality is amazing. The crowd are naturally well up for a good night and especially so considering this show has already been postponed. …But what will they play tonight? Since the setlists from Utrecht on June 15th and Boston on June 18th differed greatly, seemingly, the gloves are off…

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Listen to the new single from Brit-folk act Roo Panes

It’s got the haunting piano of parts of Nick Drake’s back catalogue and the deep, chocolatey tones of Gomez.  The new single from British alt-folk act Roo Panes is a maudlin treat, indeed.

Taken the their forthcoming album ‘Quiet Man’, out via CRC Records on June 15th, if the new single is indicative of the rest of the full length, those who like a deep, late night listen are in for something very enjoyable.

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FRANK TURNER – Be More Kind

Over the first ten years of his solo career, singer-songwriter Frank Turner recorded some fantastic material. His deeply personal songs touched on many subjects, from death, love, travel, friendship, lost weekends and politics. In short, in that time, he’s acted as a friend who’s been there, seen it all and is able to lend a lyrical tale of empathy whatever your personal situation. This time, though, he’s really not messing about: the commentary of ‘Be More Kind’ is a world away from the songs of youth, parties and camaraderie that peppered his early releases. It’s also musically far broader. A restless album, even; one that refuses to settle into any one style, sometimes with only Turner’s honest and personal lyrical concerns as an obvious link to the past. And while it isn’t a concept album, more than a few of its songs are connected to the universal themes of time and mortality.

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KATE MICK – Undertow

A singer songwriter from Rhode Island, Kate Mick loves the banjo. In fact, she loves it so much, it’s the only instrument featured on her 2016 full length ‘Undertow’. The idea of voice and banjo alone has probably sent a few people running for the hills, but given time to adjust, there’s actually something about such a simple concept that works: not only is Mick adept with her chosen instrument, but she’s a fine songwriter. Recorded live in an otherwise empty theatre on one night, this album’s ten songs take a voyage into a land of extremely haunting Americanaville; a land populated by broken shacks, gas lamps and a real focus on introspection. It should be a much tougher listen than it actually is, but Kate has one of those voices that just lifts everything…a voice that’s steeped in sadness and yet still has the ability to woo.

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BILLY BRAGG – Bridges Not Walls EP

Billy Bragg has never been shy of voicing a political opinion. However, the collection of songs that makes up the 2017 EP ‘Bridges Not Walls’ might just find the singer-songwriter at his most consistently outspoken since 1988’s ‘Worker’s Playtime’. His overtly political stance isn’t without good reason, of course; following his album and tour with US folk musician Joe Henry, the world took a huge turn for the worse. In June 2016, the UK held a referendum on our position within the European Union. With the result favouring those who wanted to leave, the outcome seemed to be the ultimate gesture in cutting off the country’s nose to save face. A few months later, America voted in a new President – a man with absolutely no prior political experience – and the country slowly and painfully began to disintegrate. Both of these subjects colour these five songs to a great extent, and with Billy – often the voice of a questioning contempt – it’s a very interesting listen.

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