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Reverend and the Makers have been going for an awfully long time. When they came out on stage and played latest single ‘Bassline’ the mood was somewhat bizarre. This single is an odd middle ground between David Guetta and Miles Kane with aggressive two-finger lyricism paired with a radio built soaring bass section. Does is mark the point where Reverend and the Makers lose themselves? Some might think so but it would seem that this late October in Bristol had other ideas.

They played a set of almost 20 songs with all the hits like ‘Bandits’, ‘Sex With The Ex’ and ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’ sparking an appropriately rowdy reaction from a less than full academy. John McClure (The Reverend) was constantly clarifying how what they were producing was “real music” but when this statement is paired with a partially visible beer belly and a sweaty towel there is a slight hint of disheartenment. The band still sounded incredibly airtight regardless, their bouncing rhythms and steady hooks hadn’t wained over the years of their lifespan as a band but what was suffering was the look.

The frontman was being an archetypal ‘lad’ and at times that would distract the audience from the melodies of songs like ‘No Soap In A Dirty War’ which carries a genuinely warm and well written chorus. They seem more interested in the leading man strutting across the stage in the half-pop song ‘Miss Brown’ which was somewhat of a sore reminder of what indie music can become. In their heyday this band charmed people with a communal celebratory feel and the moments where the crowd would come together and engage with the tracks harked back to that period really nicely, the only trouble came when the bass fell and the hooks cleared leaving a crowd with very little to be interested in.

The story of Reverend and the Makers doesn’t get much easier to understand. They saw success and now they are in a stage of flux which could honestly go either way. Their fan base know the songs religiously and the band seem to be wholeheartedly loving the chance to still perform them so maybe, in time, Reverend and his gang will find solace in a zone of semi-novelty where their hits can be enjoyed but they won’t feel this over whelming need to still be current because as it stands, that’s what is making it feel like they’ve been around forever.

Words and photo: Laura Palmer