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Live / stage review

Summer of Lev

7 July 2021 at

If you want to cover a song, there are a multitude of methods, some better than others. For example, Alexandra Burke’s version of ‘Halleluiah’ is a more religious rendition of the Leonard Cohen or Jeff Buckley versions that shone light on the original. At the Klondyke Club, the Leve (aka Levenshulme) Choir mashed up an a cappella version of the Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’, and in doing so, breathed some new life into a classic.

Then on the second day of the two-day festival, the Klones lived up to their name by delivering a lovely recreation of Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’. Bass lines and frantic guitars were lovingly reincarnated, and for three minutes or so, 30 years slipped past. Then there is Danny, more on whom later.

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Summer of Lev art work

Ged Camera

The latest Summer of Lev took place in early July and the family friendly affair did have the lovely feel of an event that may go wrong at some point, but was never in danger of doing so. Hay bales were laid out on the expansive Klondyke lawn, still grassy despite the absence of rain, a loved oasis of creativity and greenery hopefully immune to extravagant bids by real estate agents.

The Klondyke has adapted over the years as its patrons’ demands have changed. So on the day the England football team played its quarter final against Sweden, the ‘It’s Coming Home’ crowd were catered for via live streams both inside and outside. Hopefully the cheers that accompanied England’s victory didn’t impact on the mindfulness session that took place indoors. Bars and food stalls set up by local entrepreneurs were to be recommended. There was even a queue for the ice-cream van.

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Phil Davies performing at Summer of Lev

Ged Camera

A great deal of attention to detail was evident, the same emphasis that the club implements when organising a wedding. Floral decorations dressing the stage were impressive, while the umbrellas swinging from the overhead lines dared the sun to stay out, which it did. Useful directions to the Secret Garden tucked away in one corner were appreciated, as was the Hangover Hut.

Emphasis on creating an all family affair allowed a light touch style of parenting, evident with gleeful expressions on children’s faces, matched by gleeful expressions on their parents’ faces.

Phil Davies sat on a stool on stage by himself, strummed a guitar in a mischievous way, then linked vegetables with fibre-optic cable in the same song. Surely that’s more creative than the Times crossword? Skewed and intriguing, the line Phil delivered in a sardonic manner about becoming a criminal as a result of driving at 56 miles an hour in a 50mph zone will be recognised by many people.

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Fire juggling at Summer of Lev

Ged Camera

Over in another corner of the field, away from the stage, cheers of appreciation grew louder from the youngsters who’d earlier been taught by the fire eating entertainers how to throw spinning objects into the air and catch them on a slender thread of a rope.

Then on the Sunday, Danny took to the stage.

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Danny performing air guitar

Ged Camera

How many people have used a hairdryer as a microphone to seemingly enhance their singing ability? How about using a tennis racquet to try to emulate their guitar heroes? If this bit doesn’t relate to you, then press the back button on your browser and look for something else to read. There is a film entitled Air Guitar Nation about the air guitar championships’ 2003 final. It’s an affectionately delivered, fun way of watching people indulge in their passion.

As the opening passage of ‘Paradise City’ poured out of the speakers and a moustachioed person wearing the traditional rocker outfit of leather waistcoat and blue denim jeans began his 6 minute 30 seconds contribution to the genre, it wasn’t just the flailing of his mid-shoulder length hair in different directions or shuffling his hands along the imaginary guitar neck that captivated the audience. It was also Danny’s movement across the whole stage, the knee slides and the lack of embarrassment. To round things off, he even had a pair of knickers thrown onto the stage.

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