Reverend and The Makers – Leeds Metropolitan University, 25th February 2014 1

Reverend and The Makers – Leeds Metropolitan University, 25th February 2014

There’s a riot goin’ on. It may only be the third show in an eighteen date trek around the United Kingdom but Reverend and The Makers are already on fire. And the person responsible for starting that blaze is the man in the Sly Stone T-shirt stood right there in the middle of the Leeds Met stage. Entering to the strains of Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, The Makers’ lead singer and frontman Jon McClure is the voice of Pentecostalism if you were to only take away all of its religion. He is evangelical in all that he holds dear; the promotion of cultural difference, the strength of the human spirit, Sheffield Wednesday, living in the Steel City itself, the power of social media and making music on his own terms.  He exudes passion, energy and belief in his commitment to bringing music to the people. Thirty two house gigs in the living rooms of fans in the run up to this tour will testify to this very fact.

It is easy to deride McClure for all his man-of-the-people, chest-beating sermonising. And with their indie-rock-dance crossover schtick, Reverend and The Makers is a band that will also continue to divide opinion. 195aBut it is very difficult to argue with their increasing popularity. The current tour witnessed the biggest opening week for ticket sales in the band’s nine year history. Most of the dates for it have long since been sold out and now only a couple of days after its release their brand new album, 32, is straight in at number 5 with a bullet in the British charts.

Returning to the White Rose County, McClure revels in being back on home soil. To the crowd’s football terracing chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire”, the band rumble straight into ‘Bassline’ and for the seventy minutes that follow they criss-cross a line between the old and the new. 32’s lead single ‘The Only One’ is a stirring indictment of Reverend and The Makers’ resurgence. Taken from their second album A French Kiss In The Chaos, ‘No Soap (In A Dirty War)’ and the earlier single ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ see McClure coming out fighting, stalking the stage like some prizefighter against a wailing wall of guitar and dancefloor rhythm. The latter then bleeds into the new song ‘I Spy’ where the Makers’ marry their best indie-rock credentials to the electro-pop of The Human League.

In between times the Makers’ go all acoustic as McClure shares guitar duties with Ed Cosens for the ballad ‘Hard Time For Dreamers’, a quiet oasis of calm in an otherwise relentless no-nonsense exercise in how to best generate an audience into almost continual arms-in-the-air, fist-pumping action. Playing out with the stadium-sized anthem that is ‘Silence Is Talking’ the set reaches its strangely euphoric climax. The evening is not to end there, though, as McClure invites everyone to wait outside the University union building for 15 minutes where he will then join us in taking his music to the streets of Leeds. He is a man, after all, who does practise what he preaches.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.