Live Review: Reverend And The Makers
And on he goes, spreading 'the word' further…ABC, Glasgow, Thursday, July 16
The problem with pop stars who have ‘something’ to ‘say’ lies in the fact that the ‘something’ usually amounts to little more than castigating their contemporaries – usually in comeback interviews – for saying nothing. Somewhere in this paradoxical little cul-de-sac, there’s an algebraic formula for working out exactly how full of shit most musicians are, but what’s infuriating is that we live in apocalyptic times that demand to be debated and discussed. The sad truth about this generation of artists, though, is that very few are interested and fewer still up to it.
Jon McClure slots neatly into that prognosis; The Reverend makes a lot of noise, but the hackneyed commentary and faux-rebelliousness of debut album ‘The State of Things’ hinted at a bark that far outstripped the bite. Anyone can make an underwhelming record, though, and his awareness-raising website instigatedebate.com suggested something more substantive stirred within. Second album ‘A French Kiss In The Chaos’ is his attempt to communicate it to the masses.
And the masses are happy to be sermonised to. Opening with new single ‘Silence Is Talking’, he’s greeted with frenzied whoops of appreciation. For a professed peacenik, though, his demeanour is openly confrontational, jogging on the spot like a prize-fighter to ‘The State Of Things’ and inviting the crowd to raise a middle finger to the BNP before ‘Manifesto/People Shapers’. After the show, he congregates his people outside for a now-traditional acoustic sing-song. Honestly, you’d swear this man was trying to prove something.
Whether he’s trying too hard or not, the new songs do seem to lack the rousing melodic bounce of ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’ or ‘Open Your Window’, though the stirring grandeur of ‘Hard Time For Dreamers’ and the ‘Sgt Pepper’s…’-style psych of ‘Professor Pickles’ make up for it.
“I’m worried, because critics have been saying nice things about this record,” McClure announces to the crowd. “Which probably means you’ll all hate it.”
That may well be the case; on tonight’s evidence, the lairy, hook-laden anthems
of old are in short supply. But there isn’t always a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down; for all his faults,
at least Jon McClure is trying to administer it.