The BBC Electric Proms’ smallest venue was tonight given over to a Steve Lamacq showcase of new and emerging talent, headlined by Reverend And The Makers. Under the Proms’ banner of “new music moments” it may have been, though there was nothing particularly unique to tonight’s line-up – no choir or concert orchestra, no film composer rearranging anything. Instead, bands took to the stage, played and left again. Rather like what usually happens at the Barfly, really.
New kids on the block The Metros used to be called The Wanking Skankers but decided to get commercial with their new, more prosaic moniker. Like tonight’s headliners, they address everyday, everyman themes – at least, for bad boys under the age of 20 from Peckham and Sydenham. Front man Saul Adamczewski, under 20 himself, wears his duffle coat collar turned up and, grinning like a loon, bears a passing resemblance to a young John Travolta until he opens his mouth and mockney pours out.
Like Hard-Fi before them, The Metros muse on matters of a London suburban nature, but their music betrays influences from another time – Ian Dury And The Blockheads, notably. Their words ponder the averageness of a Tuesday, life in Acton and taking a train from Victoria Station. Like Richard Archer, Saul has plenty of self-regard: one of their songs is called Last Of The Lookers. But their closing anthem Live A Little gets their new audience on side and singing along. They’re likely to make something of a splash sooner than later.
With plenty of self-regard of his own, the Reverend Jon McClure takes to the stage with a frown and launches into The State Of Things, the title track from Reverend And The Makers’ debut album. Like the rest of the set it sits at the junction of indie, pop and electro, resolutely refusing to jump away from a commercial centre carved out from a decidedly Madchester sound.
McClure’s intense expression and finger pointing sit well with his preacher boy persona as he sprinkles epithets between songs, fetches out a camera to snap at the audience and shakes his shaggy mane. As a front man he is a charismatic and engaging figure, in voice and actions in the mould of Ian Brown.
His gnomic, people’s poet utterances, about everything from the Daily Mail to Admiral West, come backed by the band’s radio-friendly and rhythmic music. It’s easy to hum along to, if not always to sing to. Like his mate Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, McClure sings in his native Yorkshire accent. Tonight his London audience adopt it and do their best to sing it back to him.
18-30 is sped up compared to the recording and perfectly catches the lager lout mentality of its subject. Machine is similarly uptempo and Bandits has the place bouncing. Debut single Heavyweight Champion Of The World goes down a storm, and closer He Said He Loved Me, with Laura Manuel yelling along a Lahndahn-ish chorus line, confirms this band know how to start a party.