Words: Francijn Suermondt
Reef Pictures: Adrian Hextall
On a howling wet and windy Saturday night, I faced travelling on the train to Exeter in the eye of the storm to the Lemon Grove, to interview ‘Broken Witt Rebels’ (who were supporting ‘Reef’) and enjoy the show.
Whilst being thoroughly entertained by those cheeky ‘Broken Witt’ brummie rascals during our interview, I could hear and feel the thuds through my body of ‘Reef’ running their sound check and knew that tonight’s soiree was going to be a goody.
After chewing the fat with Danny Core (vocals) – great taste in perfume, James Tranter (guitar) – Liverpool fan extraordinaire, Luke Davis (bass) – The Wizard and James Dudley (drums) – cheeky & jolly nice chappy…..it was time for the show!
The Lemon Grove was buzzing …and I mean buzzing! With memories of ‘Glow’ and the times in the 90’s that all of us music lovers in the South West had seen ‘Reef’, producing many happy memories, you could tell that the audience consisting of those of my more ‘mature’ years wanted to recapture the sounds of their youth. Not only were there many faces from my ‘teenage dirtbag’ years, but also a wide range of younger fans, which was great to see.
Broken Witt Rebels
‘Broken Witt Rebels’ graced the stage with aplomb and got right down to dirty southern rock business. With Danny’s fantastic raspy vocals and innovative use of the blend of heavy funk bass line from Luke, superb guitar from James T and the drumming showmanship of James D, the band is exceptional live. The crowd soon forgot the bar, they knew a good thing when they heard it, and surrounded the stage.
Playing tracks such as ‘Snake Eyes’ a true blue southern rebel call to rock action, whilst also showing their softer side with ‘Wait For You’ ….the guys make full use of Danny Core’s beautiful throaty vocals and provide good dose of uplifting background shout outs.
And the crowd LOVED them….with comments of ‘what a voice’, ‘bloody hell they were ace!’ and ‘I was not expecting that, they rocked!’…confirming what I already knew after review their latest EP ‘Snake Eyes’
So there you have it…..Energy? Check!….Super musicianship? Check …. Deep down and dirty southern rock n roll? Check! Don’t see these guys next time they play near you, at your own peril!
Still to be convinced? Broken Witt Rebels have just released a new video in advance of the three dates with Reef in London:
‘Reef’ bounded onto the stage with the rejuvenated joy of knowing that they had just launched a 10 out of 10 kick ass album with ‘Revelation’…..and boy, could you feel the love from the ecstatic crowd!
Tearing straight in with ‘Naked’, and continuing in the same vein with a healthy and sensible balance of older much loved tracks and newer bloody excellent ones, the energy from Gary Stringer was absolute and tangible, whilst his vocals were raspy and pure rock n roll.
From the first chords screaming from Jesse Wood’s guitar and the funky groove of Jack Bessant’s bass, there was no doubt that this was going to be a night to remember!
With the superb ‘Stone For Your Love’, it was time for Gary to really get up close and personal with the fans and he bounded off the stage to sing over the barrier to them…….shy and retiring he ain’t, but a bloody good showman who has a fantastic rapport with the audience he most definitely is!
It was obvious that everyone here had the latest offering from ‘Reef’ as the whole place really exploded when the chaps played tunes such as ‘How I Get Over You’, ‘Ball & Chain’ and ‘Revelation’, leaving no doubt that these latest treats have the same, if not more, rock n roll energy than the much loved go to tracks of the earliest albums.
‘Place Your Hands’ literally had the whole place jumping and provided the happiness and groove needed in this day and age of, lets’ be honest, crap going on in the world around us…..it was pure joy that allowed us to give the finger to everything else!
After a rocking roller-coaster of a set, from old school rock vibes, great back beats and gravelly vocals, to offerings with a real dose of deep south evangelical joy and the perfect gospel blues drums and keyboards to accompany them, ‘Reef’ gave their all on Saturday night …. And you know what, the crowd at the Lemon Grove did too!!!
I can count on one hand the number of albums that I actually LOVE listening to all the tracks to, and now, I have added one more to my very short list…..‘Revelation’ and the gig on Saturday night brought the whole rejuvenated ‘Reef’ story full circle and exploding on stage in a musical kaleidoscope of joy, energy and rock n roll vitality…nice one chaps!
Stone for Your Love
How I Got Over (Clara Ward cover)
I Would Have Left You
I’ve got something to say
Ball & Chain
Place Your Hands
Don’t You Like It?
Summer’s in Bloom
My Sweet Love
Come Back Brighter
Stay With Me (The Faces cover)