A winner.

Wednesday 17th October 2007 was not the greatest day to be one of Britain's highly-paid and most respected sportsmen. The English national team looked as though they were auditioning en masse for the role of Bambi on ice whilst self-imploding in Russia and Scotland...well, the result may have been damaging but not any worse than that strip. Yes, the spectacular move to rush release a new strip to cash in on the current wave of Jocko-football mania that is sweeping Scotland spectacularly backfired and made the players look foolish, to say the least.

So with all that going on, are there any sportsmen still worth believing in? Don't start about the Rugby World Cup because lets face it, rugby as a sport is as relevant as tiddlywinks so these days we have to look a bit further for our heroes who bring some sport into our world. On a night where heroes were needed, up stepped the Reverend Jon McClure whose running on the spot seemed the most energetic activity this writer had witnessed all day.

With the "does exactly what it says on the tin" approach to opener 'The State of Things', its apparent that the Reverends interview stance of trying to align himself to musicians who have a social commentary theme is close to the mark but the front man does seem limited to talking about his immediate world and the local situation around him. Lets be fair, the state of Britain is quite grim these days and there is a lot going wrong here so its no bad thing to have this brought out into the open but when there's so many people saying the exact same thing, it dilutes the message slightly. Its been well documented that bands these days think that council estates are grim, there's little to do except buzz some glue and the boredom and monotony of working-life isn't enough to stimulate a young man so they either beat their missus or gamble his hard-earned cash. We've had the talk, are any of them going to lead the action?

From the looks of the crowd, a good number would follow McClure if he marched on Downing Street but I suppose he is busy with his day job of being in a band and all that. It may be a cosy little venue but it was rammed full and by about three tracks in, the crowd were hanging on every word. Even the snippets of poetry that were getting thrown in were being received like Top Ten hits. In all honesty, they were of the standard you'd expect of a teenage lad getting his first flush of artistic style but its all in the delivery and the scattergun pace and timely pauses were worked extremely well. And there was one that stuck the boot into the Daily Mail for being the right-wing rag that it is, so that wasn't bad either.

Of course, its not all about the Reverend, the rest of the band all played their part but the only one who got to cut loose was Laura Manuel, who supplied vocals and keyboards. Aside from this, her chief role was to match McClure in the running and jumping about stakes, which again marked her out from the rest of the band, who remained stationary as they went about their jobs. The closing 'He Said He Loved Me' allowed Manuel to take up position at centre stage and share the spotlight with the main man.

Throughout the set, the moments where things went best were the ones that were more electro, it allowed more freedom for the band to roll over and it certainly got the crowd pumping the air more energetically. Album thumpers like 'Miss Brown' or '18-30' appealed to the boisterous element and enabled the sing-along moments but occasionally, a slower moment would calm down proceedings with 'Sex With The Ex' working well in allowing everyone a breather before rushing off again.

The Reverend appeared to be in good form and proclaimed to have been greatly enjoying himself throughout the show and looks to be a man confident with what he has achieved. This serenity possibly comes from the knowledge of having one of the Summers biggest tracks under his belt. There wasn't too many songs that seemed to capture the Summertime but for this writer, the dynamic charge and energy-driven lyrics of 'Heavyweight Champion of The World' has battered all the competition into a bloody pulp. Before the song kicked off, there was a warning that anyone standing still would have the Reverend to deal with and aside from a few arm-crossed people at the back (and sadly not in a Run-DMC stylee), this wasn't a concern. The siren like start catches the attention of everyone and the chest-beating climax took the venue to a new level, mining the thought that there are better things to be doing and just because everyone else is doing it, why should we settle for that? It's a fine sentiment and when its married to a belter of a tune, its hard to find fault in it.

With promises to see the crowd outside and play his acoustic guitar, the Reverend was already laying out his tactics for extra-time before the gig had finished, so even his forward planning was on show for everyone. He may not have been the sportsman the crowd was looking to be the hero on that night but Reverend and The Makers were the only winning team that mattered.