Reverend & The Makers at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea REVIEW: 'Maybe it’s time to rejoin the congregation'

Sheffield-based band Reverend and The Makers took The Wedgewood Rooms by storm
Sheffield-based band Reverend and The Makers took The Wedgewood Rooms by storm
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Within seconds of taking to the stage, the reverend, Jon McLure, has got the entire sold-out audience in the palm of his hand.

As he announces: ‘I want to see you all bounce, from the front to the back, from side to side’, the crowd duly obliges.

If Jon really is a reverend, it’s definitely in the declaiming, evangelical tradition rather than the meek CoE, from-the-pulpit version.

This tour is in support of their newly released best of album, a double disc effort, which is divided into ‘bangers and ballads’.

They open with State of Things, the first track of their debut album from way back in 2007, and Jon is soon crying ‘bangers, bangers, and more bangers!’

Armchair Detective features the scathing line: ‘Because you shout loudest doesn’t mean that you’re right’, from that same debut, which has proved to be horribly prescient in this age of social media.

New track Elastic Fantastic is a frantic punk-funk effort that unfortunately lacks the immediate recognition of older material.

But what comes next steals the night.

Jon calls for a Darren to come to the stage with his girlfriend, whereby Darren proposes – and thankfully she says yes.

They celebrate with Out of The Shadows, which John claims is ‘a wedding song in't it.’

There’s another surprisingly touching moment when John announces: ‘Before Reverend and The Makers there was a boy called Jon who wrote poems’, and we hear about a poem he wrote with his hero John Cooper Clarke. He reads us The Last Resort about desolate seaside towns, and it’s an affecting moment.

Their biggest single Heavyweight Champion of The World has Jon promising to hunt down anyone not sweating by its end, and he’d be hard-pushed to find a dry body by its manic climax.

When Laura McLure gets to step out from behind her keyboards for their imaginary James Bond theme, Black Flowers – from their last album The King Is Dead – it demonstrates that maybe she should be allowed to take centre stage a bit more often.

MDMAmazing is a paean to those weekends many in the audience have left behind, but as soon as the Howards Marks intro starts, it earns one of the biggest cheers of the night, before it melds into a thumping Bassline.

They finish with an ecstatic, War’s Low Rider-sampling Silence Is Talking, which sees the audience continue chanting its riff out of the venue and into the street where McLure performs a literally traffic-stopping version of The Specials’ A Message To You Rudy.

And then Jon’s off like the pied piper of Portsmouth to his post-party DJ set at Lord John Russell’s with half the audience still in tow.

They clearly have a devoted following here, and it’s easy to see why when witnessing them live. If you’ve lapsed, maybe it’s time to rejoin the congregation.