Featured image and gallery: Ameena Ceesay
Reverend and The Makers’ discography seems to incorporate the better aspects of rock, ska and techno, and their latest gig at Manchester Academy reinforced this. The venue was jam-packed with rabid fans, which allowed for a more intimate setting given its size.
The Sheffield rockers performed a mix of their back catalogue for the first two-thirds of the show, including ‘Shine The Light’ and, arguably their most famous song, ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’. The final third cleverly included the ballad ‘No Soap (In A Dirty War)’ which had a calming effort on punters, and the inclusion of their latest single, ‘Problems’.
The band, particularly the lead-singer Reverend, were electrifying to watch. His stage presence was magic, as he appeared akin to a conductor leading an orchestra. Throughout the two-hour set, there were frequent interludes where he’d interact with the crowd – asking if they were having a good night, remarking on the band’s nearly 20-year history and implementing call and responses within the songs themselves. Fans never wavered and hung onto his every word.
The Manchester crowd stayed in the palm of his hand throughout the show, and were honestly the real stars of the show. From the beginning, where they piled into the venue, to the supporting acts (The Rusty Spoons and Ramona Flowers), to the main act – the crowd was on fire. One may argue they were even rowdy. Amid the cheers and singalongs, there were ‘fuck the Tories’ chants as an homage to Reverend’s working-class background, and a few fans going old school and waving lighters.
As drinks were thrown across the room and crowd surfing ensued, there was still an element of wholesomeness, particularly when the band brought up some kids from the crowd to watch the show from the side of the stage.
After the show, Reverend declared the fans take it to the streets. They clamoured outside still singing along to the band’s encore, their cover of The Specials’ ‘A Message To You, Rudy,’ as a tribute to Terry Hall.
Whether it is was your first time seeing this band or your 50th, the mixture of crowd investment and good music is what made this show a hit.