Reef – live in Brighton. Raw Power. Gig report!


REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF – CHALK: 28 April 2022

Reef dropped in and rocked CHALK in Brighton. A great set and a night not to be forgotten. A night of Raw Power and great tunes. Tonight was a gig you were not going to forget!

REEF:

Glastonbury rockers REEF return to Brighton with their new album Shoot Me Your Ace,

Reef is an English rock band from Glastonbury, England. The band members include Gary Stringer on vocals, Jesse Wood on guitar (replacing original guitarist Kenwyn House in 2014) and Jack Bessant on bass.

REEF were in town to play to a sold out event crowd in Chalk. The venue was packed for these guys which was good to see. I have to be honest I have not seen Reef before, I know a couple of their single releases including the wonderful Place Your Hand.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The stage had been cleared down and rebuilt for Reef in record time as they were due to play at 8.30 as the venue has a curfew of 10pm.

Reef have always been hailed as one of the UK’s best and most respected and prolific live acts. Fronted by Vocalist Gary Stringer, bassist Jack Beasant and Jesse Wood on guitar (replacing original guitarist Kenwyn House in 2014). Since forming in 1993 the band have released 5 studio albums and sold an excess of 3 Million albums worldwide, with each of their releases reaching Top 40 in the UK.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Since then, the band have continued to go from strength to strength smashing the UK Charts racking up listeners. The bands last release Revelation on Ear Records also produced by George Drakoulias propelled the band back into the Charts in 2018 receiving some of the best reviews of the bands career while also seeing the band appear on some of the Nation’s biggest and Best TV and Radio shows including BBC1s, the One Show.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The guys set foot on the stage just after 8.30 and the monster juggernaut beast of sound was unleashed from the get go. No chat – the guitars, and and drums opened up as Gary Stringer planted himself at the front and launched into the lyrics. Damn this was loud and fast as the smoke machine belched out clouds of the stuff.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The opener, well it was a track from their new album, Shoot Me With Your Ace, with Shoot Me Your Ace. Christ! Lots of Oh oh oh’s,  what an opening salvo that was! Next was Stone For Your Love, the bass line and drums heralding the picked intro on guitar, as Gary growled Stone For Love. Lots of screams with “Yeaaaah” and guitar pick slides setting the tone. Great to see the crowd bouncing off each other so early! Nicely done Reef! A most thrilling rock opener! And a load more still to come…

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

On guitars we have a very talented Jesse Wood, son of Ronnie Woods, yes that Ronnie Wood. Sharing the fretwork duties, and some backing vocals was Amy Newton. Put these two together and you get a riveting display of great rock and roll. On drums and in a constant field of haze and pretty much obscured by the damn smoke was Luke Bullen. Sorry Luke, will get you next time. I never forget the drummer, and what a mighty fine, powerful drummer he is.

The almost smokey blues opener of Naked was next, a chance for Gary to cool down his already  blasted vocal chords, well only until the song kicks up a gear! Lots of fist pumping and hands up from the crowd. “I will blow you away” as the crowd joined in for that one. The combined noise was delicious!

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The sound in Chalk was spot on and the band sounded awesome, lighting was great, just a shame the smoke obscured our view. We could have been naked and no one would have noticed!

The awesome Place Your Hands was intro’d by that almost Doobie Brothers guitar intro, that doesn’t last long though as the band fire it up good and proper – Place Your Hands! The heaving sweaty crowd were ready for this one and the crowd and the band raised the roof with it. It was one of their biggest hits and was a delight to have it live so early in the set.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

This band are as tight as it gets. Looking up some of their earlier previous video releases, these guys have changed quite a bit, sporting an almost stranded on a desert island, cast away look. Gary Stringer and Reef bassist Jack Bessant both appeared with long hair and thick beards. An impressive beard on Jack, I was anxiously awaiting a disaster should his beard tangle with the bass he was sporting.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

The thumper that is Wolfman was in the set. Not sure how Garys vocals were holding out, he was working bloody hard. A belter of a tune. I think Reef did a cover of Hungry Like The Wolf a while back, we didn’t get that one! Interestingly a link there as this new album was produced by former Duran Duran/ Power Station guitarist Andy Taylor! The video I recall was a fella with a Thriller type of wolf mask on a skateboard. This banger has a real almost AC/DC feel to it it. The searing vocals, screams and guitar licks. If the wolfman didn’t lick you himself, then the guitars did the business and slathered you in riff and licks! Best Of Me earlier in the set was another that had a real hard rockier edge, both of these songs have that AC/DC edge. Two songs you can’t ignore. Seriously good. Best Of Me featuring some stunning fretwork. Why have I not seen Reef before? This was a mighty set of pure rawk and roll. It was fast and fiery. Tonight was a gig you were not going to forget in a while.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Slowies tonight? No not really, we did get Come Back Brighter, which was an anthem sing a long track. Brilliant. I’ve Got Something To Say for this a smooth soulful voice belts out from Gary. It is not long before the Brighton Choir steps up and fills the room with a joyous “nah nah nahs”.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Once again a thumping bass/drum pattern and acoustic guitar sound is filling up Chalk. Did I say these guys were loud and fast?

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Time was the enemy tonight as the guys launched into the title track from the new album. I loved this one, and was one of the set highlights for me. That hard rock edge with almost a Brian Johnson feel back as Gary smoked the vocals. This is rock and roll, pure and dirty! I may grab the album on the strength of this track, the drums pounding and an intense slot of guitar solo work. I am a bit of a rocker and Reef nailed this one for me.

Happy faces in the crowd, beads of sweat rolling down those faces. Time for a quick cover? Yeah why night as Reef put down The Chain, Fleetwood Mac. Some great vocals and harmonies on this, and a shout to guitar player Amy Newton. Drums keeping it tight as Jack nailed that bass line. It came together and sounded spectacular. I was not expecting that, and so was another set list high light for me. I prefer this version!

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Good Feeling was up and the set closed with Yer Old as the guitars and drums kicked it up for the last time. The crowd looked hot, happy and exhausted. I do not think anyone was standing still tonight and it had taken its toll. This is what a great rock and roll gig will do to you. We loved it. The band had worked hard to deliver such a cracking set of old and newer material.

The crowd tonight was a mixed bag, a wide age range and a great mix of fans. We were under Mr. Stringer’s spell from the moment he strode out and looked into our eyes. He engaged with every person in that room.

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

REEF: photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex

Tonight’s set and performance was faultless. Seriously, it was that good. I will be down for another ticket if they come back. A gig I am sure that will live on in many memories. Reef are unique in what they do and they seem to share the good time they are having with us. Reef are a vital band to see live.

And Finally…

Thanks to the guys, REEF who are on the WWW here.

Thanks to Crosstown Concertsthey are on the internet here.

Thanks to Sonic PR

Thanks to CHALK

Words and Pictures: Ian Bourn

 

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