After a near two year hiatus Jon McClure finally returns to his day job leading the mighty Reverend and the Makers back into the limelight. Not a low key tour to ease back into things for big Jon, instead a cracking support role on his mate Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds UK tour.
Luckily for us after a month of road testing new members and new music in their Sheffield rehearsal room the three warm up gigs are the ideal way to get an early taster, so we roll up to Fibbers for the third and final date, of what are effectively public rehearsals, with much anticipation.
With unenviable task of warming up a restless crowd York locals IO take the stage to more than a few cheers and open with This Place boasting catchy electronic beats and some understated vocals. They are generally well received but as the set goes on, the venue fills to capacity and the stage time of R+TM approaches the throng gets more restless and despite the particularly good No Life, the set highlight, IO ended with more muted applause as the inevitable Yorkshire chants start.
At 9.30 on the button the Reverend leads the Makers onto the stage, greets the faithful and gets a riotous reply. Partly obscured by the infamous beam running across the Fibbers stage ceiling, it’s great to have the big man and his band back. The Makers have always had a fairly fluid line up and tonight contains two new, if familiar, faces in Joe Carnall a temporary member on bass but more famous for being frontman of the wonderful Milburn and top notch drummer Ryan Jenkinson noted for his stick work with This Girl and latterly Skeletons. Regulars Ed Cousens now on lead guitar and Mrs McClure, Laura on keys and trumpet complete the band tonight.
Old favourite Open Your Window is first to get an airing and it goes down a storm as the pent up anticipation finally gets a release for both audience and band. The Reverend and Co play six new songs, Out Of The Shadows which is very apt, Warts n All about women who only portray their best side but, Jon assures the ladies in the audience, men like to see them looking rough too, Shine The Light about the expectation of winning the EuroMillions after buying 50 tickets and the inevitable disappointment. The free download Bassline is a booming track which has already had some Radio 1 play, The Wrestler about guilt of misdeeds which are put off till tomorrow, but their conscience pins them down and finally the self explanatory Noisy Neighbour. Some brilliant lyrics from the wordsmith extraordinaire Mr McClure and despite a few microphone problems his delivery is spot on and the highly melodic soundscapes, whilst maybe not as full as in previous times, certainly grabs the audience by the ears.
The crowd favourite is undoubtedly Heavyweight Champion but not far behind are closer Silence Is Talking, He Said He Loved Me and the anthemic State Of Things. As usual no encore just 60 minutes of top quality music, then Jon’s off through the crowd to entertain for another 20 minutes across the road from the venue. Many have followed his lead in adjourning and playing outside including Ed Sheeran, but The Reverend is very much a leader rather than a follower and the new album, to be called @Reverend_Makers, set for a May release, will include some groundbreaking tracks.
So business as usual for Reverend and the Makers, if you didn’t know better, after the manner of their impressive return performance, you’d think they’d have never been away.