Rock City has been stage to a fair few iconic front men and women over the years and I would argue Jon McClure AKA ‘The Reverend’ of Reverend and The Makers is well up there as one of the best. Having started the band in 2005 during the peak of the Sheffield alternative rock music scene, the band saw early success with their debut album ‘The State of Things’ in 2007 and in the following year played Glastonbury, T in the Park and supported the legendary Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Since then the band have been relentless on the festival scene and have undertaken several national and international tours. Over a decade of live performing truly becomes apparent when you are lucky enough to see one of their live shows. Every note, every build, every beat perfectly executed, all the while with McClure keeping up an inhuman amount of energy with the crowd absolutely loving every second.
The band came on to “Bang Saray” from their most recent album, an intense interlude track with an east Asian influence, coupled with dimmed lighting and heavy smoke building an immense suspense before they kicked in with “Open Your Window” which saw the crowd immediately swell into a huge mosh pit; from there it was relentless energy, sweat and in McClure’s words ‘banger after banger’. From there they built up the energy song after song until they peaked at “Heavyweight Champion of the World” their most successful song and arguably the powerhouse behind the band’s mainstream success. To say it went off would be an understatement, it could’ve very possibly been the most mental three minutes of anyone in the room’s life. From here, the gig did allow the crowd to catch breath, with a few classics being played from older albums, and another half an hour of simply great songs followed. In between almost every song McClure would tell funny anecdotes, talk about his life and have banter with the rest of the band and some members of the audience. He told us one woman had got onto the guest list for the night’s gig because she had offered to pay for McClure’s cigarettes when he found himself at a petrol station with no money. Another fan got on his mate’s shoulders and midway through a song pursued a game of catch with his T-shirt between himself and McClure.
With about half an hour left of stage time the band all left the stage except bassist Joe Carnell. Being the lead of the Sheffield based indie rock band Milburn, Joe took a few minutes to perform an acoustic version of one of his own songs, swapping his bass for an acoustic guitar. This went down well with the crowd and the room became a sea of phone torches and one or two old school lighters swaying side to side with the mellow strum of the guitar. Once Joe had performed, the lighters were put away, the rest of the band returned re-energized, and ready to smash out the last leg of the set. It would’ve been hard to imagine that the last leg would be as mad as the first leg, but somehow McClure and the rest of the band got a whole new level of energy from the crowd and the rest of the set continued to go down ‘banger after banger’. Eventually they reached their final song “Silence Is Talking” from their second album- a perfect end to an incredible gig, seeing the crowd still cheering long after the band exited the stage. Although the band have been going for over a decade, they show no sign of slowing down soon, their new music keeps up the high standard of their early albums and the gigs seem to only get better. They are certainly one of the best bands I have seen at Rock City, and I look forward to the next time they come to Nottingham.
Featured image: Tom Adam