It's a cold February night & here we are at the seaside in unsunny Skegness, at the Embassy Theatre to see The Reverend & The Makers. A strange choice of band for the Embassy Theatre, looking at future promotional posters there is the Buddy Holly story, An Abba tribute band & a Pink Floyd tribute band. Why the Makers are playing here only they know. This is also the only venue which The Makers have NOT fully sold out; I guess that is mainly due to the demographic & difficult access to Skegness not being on the motorway network.
Support band is Oldham threesome Twisted Wheel, recent winners of the Xfm Manchester's Uploaded talent competition & also signed by Columbia records. Vocalist Johnny Brown has a growling voice similar to early Dylan with the curly hair to match, stand out track is 'Strife', with sarcastic observational lyrics such as "Sheila she's a dealer, dropped off in a blue three wheeler, shakes a leg with a tater peeler." A very enjoyable set & well worthy of a warm up for the Reverend & the Makers.
Time for the main act and it is clear that the gig has not sold out, with a lot of empty seats around the top, which is a shame for the quality of band to grace the stage.
John McClure enters the stage & immediately starts on the audience. "So Take That are the best live band in Britain huh???? Bullshit!!!! Don't believe all you hear." Quite a brave outburst to start a gig & sets a high standard to attain.
McClure is clearly excited to be in Skegness claiming he has been waiting for this show. Into the second song of the night, 'Bandits'. Which gives us our first chance to hear Laura Manuel, who looks stunning, with her long hair & floaty dress. Her voice has a cheeky working class accent to it which adds to the realism of the song handling the misfortunes of gambling.
McClure asks "Is there anyone from Chapel St Leonard's?" to which there is quiet a loud cheer; he then enquires "What have you done to the Maid Marion pub with all those palm trees?" So he seems to know the area well.
The audience, which is made up of a very broad cross section of gig goers from teenagers to 40 something's, has come alive & there's a constant stream of crowd surfers being allowed back into the arena stage left.
McClure is like hyperactive spring, jogging on the spot, running around, pointing, motioning, which all adds to the energy of his performance.
Then it's on to the debut song 'Heavyweight Champion of the World' which drives the audience into a frenzy, at which point I noticed teenage girls being carried out of the theatre, unconscious by security, as the temperature in Skegness reaches boiling point, even McClure comments on how hot it is.
Most of the album is covered including title track 'State of Things', '18-30', the latest single 'Open Your Window', along with new track, 'Hidden Persuader', "A song about dodgy satellite shopping channels which make you buy things!!!"
After nearly an hour on stage, the band rips into the finale, 'He Said he Loved Me', the place goes into uproar; the Embassy Theatre has probably, and never will, rock & cheer as much again.
The main hall lights come on & then McClure shouts "If you want to hear some more, follow me!!!" Jumping from stage left into the crowd & exiting though the main doors, taking most of the audience with him like the pied piper, onto the main road outside the Embassy, he then leads us to the Clock Tower (see picture below) which is situated on the sea front roundabout & proceeds to hold an impromptu acapela gig. As most of the fans crowd around on the roundabout, it is difficult to actually see or hear McClure, just the pointing of camera phones roughly in his direction. McClure stays there for approx 25 minutes with fans singing along, but then the assembled crowd scatters when a solitary police car turns up.
All in all, a thoroughly great, enjoyable & unpredictable night, if you have tickets for the rest of the sold out tour you are in for a treat.
Voice your opinion in the eGigs forums...
article by: Gary Stafford
photos by: Gary Stafford
| published: 26/02/2008 12:22|