REVEREND and the Makers were at the O2 Ritz in Manchester last night, Quays News entertainment reporter Natalie Rees was there…  

Mirrors’, released in October this year, was the latest offering from Sheffield’s Reverend and the Makers. Praised by Noel Gallagher and described by The Libertines’ Carl Barat as “a volley of lyrical grenades” in NME, album number five from Jon McClure and his band is a must listen. Last night, the sold out HMV Ritz was treated to some new material and classic Reverend records. Support came from Norfolk’s Franko Fraize and fellow Yorkshire boys The Sherlocks.

A little later than scheduled, Franko Fraize (Frankie Dean) took to the stage, before apologising for the delay in proceedings due to bad traffic.

“15 minutes to smash it out and enjoy yourselves!”  Fraize told the crowd as he took to the stage.

On the first night of his support tour, Fraize didn’t disappoint. The explosion of energy on the stage forced those at the bar to get up and listen. The rapper, who has had support from BBC Music since posting tracks on YouTube, opened with the upbeat ‘Underdog’, which suited the ‘up for it’ Manchester crowd, who gave cheers of approval as the venue filled up. Having only enough time for four songs, Fraize continued to entertain with his infectious charisma, shouting “honestly we’ve had a nightmare… who cares about that setting up!”

Running’, one of the songs he performed at Radio 1’s Big Weekend this year, had the crowd bouncing, with a performance comparable to the likes of Jamie T and Mike Skinner, who he supported back in 2012. Fraize praised the venue and its staff for their hospitality and welcome despite their late arrival, before announcing the last song of the set and his first release on Polydor, ‘Oi! Oi!’ out on Tuesday. Fraize’s Norfolk twang contrasted the Mancunian roars echoing around the venue as he finished his set to a round of applause. He’s back at The Ritz on Tuesday with The Enemy. The set was loud and so was he – expect big things from Franko Fraize.

The 1500 capacity Ritz was almost full for The Sherlocks who entered the stage before flooding the venue with indie rock guitar riffs. The Sheffield boys who, surprisingly, are yet to be signed by a record label, have gained a large following on social media, having over 14,000 followers on twitter. The band, made up of two sets of brothers, opened their set to a roar from the crowd; “Hello Manchester! We’re The Sherlocks from Sheffield!”

The band had attracted a number of their own fans in the audience, as the crowd sang the lyrics to ‘Escapade’ back to them. It’s hard to believe they weren’t headlining, playing with a sound reminiscent of a young Arctic Monkeys. ‘Live for the Moment’ – their debut single released in October last year, had the crowd jumping before they introduced the penultimate song of the night, ‘Heart of Gold’, which has been championed by Huw Stephens.

“You may have heard this on Radio 1!” the band told the Manchester crowd.

The set finished at 8.15 pm with the brilliant ‘Chasing Shadows’ to a round of applause and an assurance that they’ll be back soon.

Reverend and The Makers came on to a loud and impatient crowd fuelled by pints from the bar, serenading the band with “Manchester la la la!” on the first night of their 12 date tour. Three single spotlights lit up the band (Ed Cosens, Laura McClure, Joe Carnall and  Ryan Jenkinson)  before Jon ‘The Rev’ McClure kicked off the set with ‘Amsterdam’ off the new album, and then ‘Open your window’.

“Your f*****g weekend starts here Manchester!” bellowed the lead singer.

The elbow to elbow crowd jumped along as The Rev danced around the stage with his usual Britpop-esque swagger. Mosh pits opened up for ‘Shine the Light’, before ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Makin Babies’ both from the new album. Each song melted into another, making the set seamless and a non-stop party.

The sixth song of the night was The Rev’s 2007 anthem ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’, the first record from their debut album ‘State of Things’ and arguably the band’s most successful single.  The atmosphere was electric reflecting Jon’s energetic and captivating stage presence, as he confessed “I feel like we and you are falling in love a bit now.”

The set continued with favourites including ‘Miss Brown’, ‘Mr Glassalfempty’, ‘Bassline’, ‘Hidden Persuaders’ and ‘Out of the Shadows’. Jon’s unrelenting enthusiasm and interaction with the crowd made the experience a real treat for Rev’s fans, before he acknowledged his love of the city, shouting “we’ve become as popular in Manchester as we have in Sheffield!”

For the 12th song of the night, the bold frontman took out his guitar to perform an acoustic version of ‘No Soap in a Dirty War’, a much needed rest for the crowd. When he finished, Jon announced that he had received a text saying there was a newly married bride and groom in the audience. The lights went up and the bride, in her wedding dress, was located and the Ritz congratulated them with a cheer.

Joe Carnall, formerly of indie rock band Milburn, performed ‘Something to Remember’, before Jon turned the volume back up for ‘El Cabrera’, ‘The State of Things’, ‘I Spy’ and ‘Last to know’. The whole venue, bar to bar, was moving and Jon took off his coat as the temperature continued to soar as he bounced to ‘Devils Radio’ and ‘Bandits’, swinging his towel above his head. One of the highlights of the night was ‘He Said He Loved Me’, with Jon encouraging everyone to get their knees up and dance.

Before the encore, Jon introduced ‘Silence is Talking’ as “one for the ladies”, from the 2009 album ‘A French Kiss in the Chaos’. The last song of the night was a nod to the band’s Ska influence – ‘A Message to You Rudy’ by The Specials. Jon thanked everyone for coming, and ensured he’d be outside with his guitar after the gig, “One Love!”

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