Jon McClure’s preaching causes panic on the streets of London. Roundhouse, London (February 26)
It’s 10.45pm. Camden has ground to a halt. Traffic is at a standstill. People are on top of cars. Readers, let’s start from the beginning…Wind back to 7.30pm and three sturdy Seattle lads with a fixation on leather jackets, Oasis and rock’n’roll have just bounded onstage. The Blakes’ look and sound is perhaps a bit too studied to totally convince, but they knock out their concoction of BRMC riffs and boogie with such power it’s hard to resist. Next up, zipped into scally coats with their guitars strapped high, it’s not hard to guess Twisted Wheel’s origins. The Manchester three-piece are throwaway in the best possible sense, pumping out two-minute rockabilly-tinged pop like 1967 never happened. With Andy Nicholson firmly ensconced at the side of the stage and Banksy rumoured to be in the venue, Reverend And The Makers take their positions, the imposing Jon McClure punching the air like
a prize fighter and his keyboardist belle Laura looking stunning in a short green dress. They launch into a brand new track, ‘Everybody Hates Ryan’, which, with its ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’-referencing beats and spacey guitar echoes, is possibly the most adventurous and interesting song McClure has written. ‘Bandits’, ‘18-30’ and ‘The State Of Things’ pass with maximum rowdiness from the crowd, until the Reverend implores the audience to name a current artist who speaks out about what they believe in.
“Your silence is deafening,” he says. “There’s only me, that’s who.”
‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’ is transformed into a synth-led stomper, with McClure’s vocals twisted into dubby echoes, but the loudest reception is saved for closer ‘He Said He Loved Me’. Arguably the Rev’s worst – but catchiest – tune, tonight it’s a song that launches a thousand pints in the air. At £3.50 each, that’s some appreciation.The grandstanding sentiments in some of the songs on show tonight, such as ‘The Machine’, are a little unsubtle for a man who reads out clever, witty poetry between songs. But indie needs people like McClure, unafraid to rant about the world’s injustices, unafraid of his own arrogance. “All I’m trying to tell you is you should think for yourself and not believe what the TV or newspapers tell you,” the Reverend preaches. Sounds fair to us. With that, McClure jumps into the crowd and weaves his way out to busk outside the venue. He’s already converted the Roundhouse, now it’s time to take to the streets.