Seth Lakeman and The Levellers force Standard man to Greenwich

An interesting week in Greenwich town centre with The Greenwich Sessions concerts being held in the old naval college grounds – kicking off as I type with Seth Lakeman and The Levellers. I decided not to get too excited about the shows after being distinctly underwhelmed by last year’s Serpentine Sessions in Hyde Park – although it turns out that despite the similar names, the two events are completely unrelated, so hopefully gig-goers in SE10 won’t be shoved into a tent like Hyde Park ones were.

It looks like the music reviewer from London’s only evening paper isn’t impressed at the thought of hauling his arse to (horrors!) south-east London…

That’s tomorrow’s review tonight for you, just as Lakeman’s taking to the stage. Who says the internet isn’t brilliant, eh? But a few questions for Evening Standard critic David Smyth spring to mind…

1) Where does he think the O2 arena is?

2) Where the hell is he coming from if he has to catch a bus, two Tubes and the DLR?

3) Has he ever been to a gig at Alexandra Palace before?

The Evening Standard’s improved immensely over the past year and this is clearly a rock hack grumping about travelling out of his comfort zone. But every now and then, there’s a little reminder of why us south-east Londoners get narky with the media that’s supposed to represent us. And that was one of them.

Anyhow, being a cheapskate, I’m now off to see what I can hear for free…


  1. That is shocking! Sack him, I’ll review the gig for free. Miserable get!

  2. You’ll be able to hear plenty if you can get anywhere near the Old Royal Naval College, particularly on the river side as the stage is pointing that way. There’s no tent over the audience (just a few small ones sheltering bars etc). My grumbles are a) the ticket prices (I’m a tight Scot), b) not interested in the performers, though they cover a decent range of genres, and c) the soundcheck on and off all day has been driving me mad at work!

    Re: the critic, point 2) is exactly what I thought – after all most tube lines have a direct interchange with the DLR at Bank, Canary Wharf etc. Sounds like he’s coming from the sticks, not heading there. Quite tempted to reply on Twitter saying ‘the gig’s a 25-min walk from my house; have you considered moving somewhere better-connected?’ 😉

  3. Without wishing to show my age, I can recall when the leading lights of Baggy deigned to play Woolwich Tramshed. I accept there are many failings we can lay at the door of Roberts and co. but this isn’t one of them…

  4. Matt – Walthamstow to central Greenwich? Bus to Stratford, DLR to Cutty Sark. Easy peasy.

    Ligger – When was the last gig at the Tramshed? I think they were only just before my time… Agreed on the point about Chris Roberts here, if the council helped bring these gigs here then credit to them.

  5. I could hear it across the river and it was brilliant! completely agree- was he coming from Milton Keynes?! Even from there you don’t need two tubes!

  6. TO be fair, if he’d be trying to get to Greenwich on a no-Jubilee Line, no-Southeastern trains weekend, we could all sympathise.

  7. He could still get the 69 from Walthamstow to Stratford and the DLR south, though.

    Incidentally, you can see the gigs gratis from the Bellot memorial on the Thames path, if you drink in The Old Brewery’s beer garden, you get to hear the gigs for nothing. Which is rather sweet, considering the concerts’ booze partner is crappy Inc Group.

  8. I have been trawling the web for reviews of the gig last night and…..nada. That the ES critic cannot be ar*ed to get to Greenwich is sad, does he know the Thames Clipper docks at Greenwich, he will not even have to mix with the ‘bankers’ on the DLR.
    So I am going to review it – ha! Great venue, great though weird acoustics, and a beautiful manicured lawn to sit on and quaff the local micro brewery beer.
    Seth – very pure talent, this lad is IMHO, thoughtful lyrics, clever and varied use of the old fiddle and cranked up the gears from some low key folksy numbers to his (never really out of third) top folksy rock.

    It set up the Levellers brilliantly. They still carry off the ‘outsider/political activist’ tag without looking contrived or out of touch. Afghanistan gives them as much material as the poll tax and travellers rights ever did, and even though their lbs per outrage ratio is a lot higher than it was twenty years ago, they still generate energy and empathy. It certainly resonated with an up to that point conservative Greenwich crowd. Dirty Davy reminded us all how good they have always been and although a powerful thirst meant I cannot really remember all the tracks they played, the state of my calves and thighs this morning remind me how much this fat, foolish 36 yr old enjoyed a wonderful mix of the very old (architecture), the quite old (Levellers and crowd), the beautiful (sunset on the river and the lawn and trees), and the young (Seth, some of the crowd and the Summer Sessions).
    I hope the whole shebang is back next year, it was all a bit good.

  9. Enjoyed the night, in particular yhe Poet at the beginning and during. First time I have seen The Levellers live despite having enjoyed their misic since the early nighties.

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