Mac and Clague, Gig Review. The Cavern, Liverpool. International Pop Overthrow 2017.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10

In amongst the strange beguiling beauty that enraptures and the knowledge of artistic endeavour, if you look very closely you will find the unexpected wedged in with most perfect of fits; that the fit in this case belongs to the genuinely exciting Mac and Clague as they stand on stage inside The Cavern, that is blending of splendour and exotic that is always the final result that anybody could ask for.

Jamie Clague had recently thrilled listeners on the radio with his session of Halton Community radio for the Sunday live session, his playing of the balalaika on the evening winning not only new fans and rave reviews but also sent out a hugely impressive statement that this young man is all substance, all grit and all determination to showcase music that may have otherwise been forgotten or at least never experienced in the city.

On a night where the music of Mac and Clague roared through the very sinews of The Cavern building, where each drop of guitar was appreciated and savoured; each beautifully poised stance during the song Lie was greeted in early Freddie Mercury like applause. There was a moment of captivation beyond the expected and the welling up of vocal intimidation, of soaring aspiration in the chosen field and in the song La, the memories of rising above political dogma, of bullying and terrorising a population into not being creative. If Mac and Clague can show how it be done with elegant style then it is not too much to ask that the detractors in life either keep quiet or at least understand that the world is on the brink of being forced to suggest that art has no place in the frightening future to come.

Mac and Clague were riveting, even in a venue where sightlines sometimes suggest that the world is a narrow field of view, the songs of beauty and strength were carried off with absolute daring and beauty.

As well as the aforementioned La and Lie, the duo sparred comfortably with Now You’re Gone, Here It Comes, Half A Man, Dead End Job, Dark Entertainment and the haunting Yesterday.

A superb set for the International Pop Overthrow as it celebrated its 15th Year, Mac (Jack McAllister) and Jamie Clague were absolutely mesmeric.


Ian D. Hall