Leveret, The Stables, Wavendon, 4th September 2016

Leveret, The Stables, Wavendon, 4th September 2016

Leveret, The Stables, Wavendon, 4th September 2016

Leveret, The Stables, Wavendon, 4th September 2016

Having to have the venue send out a "two for the price of one" email a couple of days before the first gig of the tour is hardly an auspicious start, and judging from the sparse audience it had had only minimal real effect. Dispiriting, you'd think, but if it was then Sam Sweeny (fiddle, ex-Bellowhead), Andy Cutting (Melodeon's, ex-Kate Rusby Band) and Rob Harbron (concertina, currently Fay Hield band member) and with a clutch of BBC folk awards between them didn't let it show. Not only the first night of the tour it was, bar two rehearsals, also the first time they'd played together for six months - though you'd be hard pressed to detect that in the music. The between song banter might need a bit of brushing up but the playing was faultless.

Leveret are a tune band - some are fairly well known like "The Good Old Way", others have been rediscovered from historical sources and have had "the dust brushed off them" and, where necessary, given new arrangements. A few tunes are by the band members themselves. Not only do Leveret only play tunes but the majority of the tunes are dance tunes - jigs, hornpipes and waltzes. Despite occasional tongue-in-cheek encouragement to the audience to get up and make use of the space the gig retained a curious feeling of a ceilidh at which everyone had taken a vow to remain seated. Not that this harmed the interplay of the musicians on stage as they picked up the tunes from each other and took them on little diversions - this improvisation is what makes every gig a unique experience. Additionally, thanks to their researches, it's also nice to hear something other than just the "usual suspects" - although as Andy Cutting noted some of the tunes they came across were long forgotten for good reasons.

Despite the small turn-out the welcome was warm and the applause highly appreciative - and well deserved. If you're in the market for an evening of skilled musicianship and a bunch of cracking dance tunes then Leveret are the band you need to catch - they've dates across the UK through September.

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