Level 42, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Level 42's Mark King at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. October 2016. Photograph by Ian D. Hall.

Level 42’s Mark King at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. October 2016. Photograph by Ian D. Hall.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

There was always something about them that was so right, the sound that was different to the pop dominance of British music in the 1980s and 90s. It was enough to make sure that their style of performing, the hard swish of the distinctive bass and funk undertones, was guaranteed a special status in the hearts of music fans; Level 42 were always going to be a positive influence upon the ears.

For Mark King and Mike Lindup, the two original members of the band on stage, that positivity resonated round the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall with passion that was demanding, the swish dramatic and the music unassailable. Whilst the audience remained respectfully in their seats for the first part of the show, it was easy to see that the legs were twitching in the aisles, that the soul, that had long been infected by the groove carved out by the band, wanted to dance and shake off the shackles of unrelenting television produced musical dogma and take Level 42 back into their hearts for the night.

The serious side, the smile, the revelling in the moment of spontaneous thrust, Level 42 do it all and yet it is the different echo that the crowd especially come to see, the difference that Mark King’s playing makes to a song and one that bounced off the walls in a beautiful fashion.

The chill of the October air outside, the hum of an expectant cold autumn and frosty aloof winter was abated by the warmth shown to the band on stage and as songs such as Running In The Family, World Machine, Children Say, It’s Over, the fantastic The Sun Goes Down, Guaranteed, the spectacular Something About You and Lessons In Love were performed with feeling, overflowing care and diligence to each note played, Time and the world slipped away unnoticed, the cold horror of winter put on ice and instead a moment to reflect the sunshine of times past in colour came into view on the Philharmonic stage.

There was always something about Level 42; a night back in the arms of the Liverpool public showed that the feeling of difference, of musical opportunity and style had never gone away.

Ian D. Hall