V Festival Staffordshire
Even in a corporate haven such as this, festivals remain a place for free expression and maybe those two days in the year where acceptable behaviour involves rolling around in mud. As such, festivals need people like Jon McClure to stimulate opinion; love him or loathe him he at least provokes argument. At one point recommending that punters instigate their own debate; “Next time you see a celebrity, ask them if it’s OK to bomb Iraq“.
His repertoire is relevant enough, from Bandits to 18-30, tales of everyday existence that anyone can relate to transformed into songs you feel an urge to celebrate and join in with. It becomes clear early on he has the arena under his command with band and audience alike joined as one keeping the gig nothing less than constantly enthralling. He remains more than just a front man, continuing to rant in rhyme between songs about oil pipelines, celebrities and an audience member who had the temerity to send a coke bottle flying towards his head. Whilst his passion for debate becomes unrestrained his band commit to a tight sound consisting of a flurry of funky basslines and beguiling electro squelches.
The highlight arrives with a song that is not even on the album. Everybody Hates Ryan with its playground jeers set to the Marmite theme tune if remixed by The Chemical Brothers transcends guitars towards rave and was seemingly composed to be enjoyed in a field. As his band leave on He Said He Loved Me, Jon becomes pied piper, offers them all to join him by the fence and dutifully carries on the gig with an acoustic guitar.