Reverend and the Makers
Beautiful Days Festival
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This is a bit of a triumph for the big guy.
Jon Mclure is conducting the audience on a hot sunny afternoon.
He’s got them in the palm of his hands with his tunes and his genuine warmth. Each song is celebrated like an old friend and there are singsongs to the pithy lyrics that describe modern life with an eye for detail and a grotty northern pride.
Four albums in and Reverend and the Makers are a serious proportion. They don’t dance to anyone’s tune but their own and their wilfulness, that should have had them trapped into eternal cultdom- a sort of The Fall for the 21st century, has seen them turned into a bona fide pop success.
It’s a triumph of will over a staid media and a triumph for anyone who still celebrates the notion of individuality in music and loves the idea that you have to take your own path.
Today is the best I’ve seen them over the years. The band is hot, the set list perfect and it feels like a greatest hits show of songs that soundtrack the reality of 21st century UK like some kind of Shane Meadows film turned to song. The politcal edge has been replaced by social realsim and a celebration of the small details of life that set to song are somehow more political than the manifestos.
Four albums in and the outspoken Jon Mclure, who does not do the word ‘compromise’, has been at war with the BBC and the national media and their editing of popular culture to suit themselves and emerged triumphant witha huge following and a prime example of social media and how bands can be the media by themselves.
It helps that he can back up his statements with music.
When he emerged from Sheffield at the same time as Arctic Monkeys he could have taken the easy route of plying the same kind of social realism guitar indie- he was perfectly placed for this being their mentor but his own wilful brilliance saw him strike out and create a music that operated on his own terms incorporating council flat dance and street musics into his creativity and guitars as he reflected the streets of Sheffield musically and lyrically.
Somehow with his innate charisma and his knack for creating great pop music with cutting incisive lyrics he has had four top five albums and commands an intensely loyal following that sells out national tours proving that the outsiders make the best music.
Beautiful Days could be a tricky gig for him, being a slightly different audience, but minutes into the set everyone is dancing to the songs infectious grooves and Jon’s natural charisma that turns the sunny afternoon into a triumph for him and the band. It’s the best I’ve seen them play over the years- the band is really tight and the songs have grown in size and stature and the set list threaded togetehr from his albums is triumphant and exuberant. This is a social commentary and street songs turned into a poetry in motion and a triumph for anyone who believes you should never have to kowtow to anyone or play their game to create great music and that despite everything pop music with an edge is also great fun.