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After speaking with Jon McClure last month about the upcoming Reverend and the Makers album and tour, I thought it would have been rude not to go to watch them. And boy, am I glad I went.
53 Degrees is a small venue which really complimented the intimate relationship the Makers already have with their fans. I was right at the front, and I have to say I enjoyed every minute. The sound quality was great for a clubby venue, highlighting Jon’s strong vocal performance. All five band members showed how much they were enjoying it (whether this was the camaraderie between the guitarists or Laura’s keyboard slut-drops), and this energy projected through to the audience – no one had both feet on the ground for more than two seconds. Jon is an excellent frontman, but all band members earned their place whether that be through backing vocals or (admittedly, mimed) trumpet playing.
I don’t think the setlist could have been better. Obviously the tour was there to promote their new album ThirtyTwo, and while they played the best songs off this album, they didn’t neglect the fan-favourites either. They’re obviously aware that their debut album is still their best, performing all the classics such as Open Your Window, What the Milkman Saw and Heavyweight Champion of the World. They also managed to include the real gems released since then (I was chuffed that The Wrestler and Out of the Shadows made it in there). I left the gig feeling completely satisfied with the music choice, which as a listener with quite specific tastes, is not something I can usually say.
It was clear throughout just how loyal the Reverend’s fan-base is, if only because of constant chants of ‘Rev army’ between songs. I wondered what could be the reason for this devotion, but perhaps my question was answered after the gig finished: Jon met all the fans outside and did an acoustic set in the streets of Preston, as well as signing CDs. It was clear to me then just how appreciative he is of his success, which is why he gives so much back to the fans as a thank you. He’s earned their loyalty, and with gigs like this one, it would take a lot to lose it.