Back in August Reverend & The Makers announced an acoustic tour, with lead singer Jon McClure promising “songs that don’t require people to bounce around like mad”. If you’ve seen Reverend & The Makers live then you’ll know that an acoustic tour is very rare indeed, they’re renowned for their upbeat stage presence and lively crowds, with McClure being quoted more than often asking their audience to ‘bounce’.
On November 17th 2016 the tour stopped at Manchester’s Gorilla; an intimate venue that was jam packed by the time McClure and his song writing partner, guitarist Ed Cosens took to the stage. McClure and Cosins don’t mess around and kicked off with their biggest single to date, ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’. It was obvious from the reaction that just because the gig was acoustic, didn’t mean that it was going to be a quiet one as the crowd shouted along to every single world – an effort that they maintained for the duration of the set.
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McClure explained that for once he was going to play purely what he wanted before diving in to the emotive ‘Play Me‘ from 2014’s ‘ThirtyTwo’ album. The set list selection covered an array of lesser known tracks such as ‘Hard Time for Dreamers’ and ‘Long Long Time’, as well as hits such as ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Miss Brown’ which inevitably led to mass crowd sing-along’s. McClure had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the night, ironically asking them to show their palms at one point; “Manchester, put your palms up, let’s see who’s here”.
McClure and Cosens remained the only two constant band members on the stage, though there was an assortment of guests throughout the night for various tracks, including a cellist called Lucy and their support band Liberty Ship, who joined them on stage for ‘Who Do You Love’. Bassist Joe Carnall who has also found fame as the lead singer of Milburn was greeted with elated cheers and a “Milburn” chant before playing ‘Something to Remember’ and crowd favourite ‘Mr Glass Half Empty’. Though the biggest reaction of the night was given to McClure’s wife and fellow band member Laura. As ‘Black Widow’ morphed into ‘Makin’ Babies’, McClure announced that the pair were expecting another baby, so a huge congratulations is in order to the McClure’s! Tracks that Laura was present for included ‘Sex With The Ex’, ‘What Goes Around’, ‘He Said He Loved Me’ and ‘Bandits’, which is rarely played acoustically.
A tongue in cheek comment about how McClure’s Dad never bought him a laptop like David Guetta’s led to McClure proudly stating that every one of their songs have been written by him and Cosens, with their bare hands. It was an incredibly poignant moment of the night where the crowd well and truly showed their appreciation with rapturous applause and cheers. As well as being a genius songwriter and natural performer, McClure excels in his skill of creating a bond with his crowd, possessing the ability to calm them down or whip them into a frenzy at any given moment.
The gig came to a triumphant end with a huge thanks from McClure. The crowd knew exactly what was coming when he uttered the words that Laura was going to play her trumpet and the entire room went wild for ‘Silence is Talking’ from the 2009 album ‘A French Kiss in the Chaos’. An acoustic gig from Reverend & The Makers may not be the gig that you expect from them, but they well and truly excelled at it and I for one hope to see them do something similar in the future.