Reef - The Robin 2, Bilston - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Reef - The Robin 2, Bilston

by Mark Steele Rating:10 Release Date:2011-11-09

On a mild Saturday night in Bilston at the renowned rock 'n' roll heritage hub – The Robin 2. I was greeted by a stoked atmosphere amongst the majority mature audience with heightened anticipation ahead of Reef’s appearance in town this evening. The band’s entrance saluting and waving the crowd was greeted with jubilant factions of applause, accompanied by whole-hearted whistles and cheers.

With instruments readily revved up, they kickstarted the evening with great stomper ‘Higher Vibration’, with frontman Gary Stringer’s vocals growling richer and grittier than ever, an explosive start to a very memorable night for all.

One of many new songs ‘Just Feel Love’ showcased another rifftastic blues-rock anthem, Gary’s soaring vocals and stage strutting reminiscent of an LA Woman Doors period Jim Morrison. Several of the greatest hits followed including ‘Summer’s In Bloom’ and ‘I would have left you’ beamed across with zealous vigour, I was happy to have witnessed the soul searching ‘Consideration’ resonated deep and meaningful with the crowd, a rare surprise surfaced in a cover of American R&B artist Don Cavoy, showcasing his inspiring classic ‘Mercy Mercy’ bountifully delivered with soulful punch and pungent clarity. Two further new songs featured amongst the other well-known numbers, ‘First Mistake’ was a down south rock ballad with a Black Crowes flavour, ‘Lone Rider’ provided an opportunity for Gary to demonstrate his confident guitar abilities as was next seen with familiar hit ‘I’ve got something to say’.

New guitarist Jesse Wood played through the standard numbers and new material with relative finesse, recalling Jimmy Page/Jeff Beck in a relaxed confident mastery, truly evident in songs such as the heavy funk driver ‘Ball and Chain’ and a Creedence Clearwater Revival/Black Crowes tinged ‘My Sweet love’ (written two weeks prior incidentally). The ever-presence of Bassist Jack Bessant’s heart felt expression and Dominic Greensmith’s reverberating stick work, kept the rhythm section well-oiled and reluctant to slow down anytime soon.

A fanfare delivery of their hallmark anthems, ‘Place your hands’ alongside ‘New Bird’ fired up the already animated crowd even further and they finished the marathon strong sixteen song set with their epic debut ‘Naked’ – With an encore bellowed from everyone’s lips, Reef readily returned onstage and beckoned the house to an altar call with gospel blues mover ‘How I Got Over It’ and the band rounded proceedings with the frenzy inducing screamer ‘Yer Old’.

A vitality packed spectacular complimented by Gary and Jack’s end-of-show huddle with the fans. My best gig of the year bar none.

A band with timeless appeal who have ridden various waves in their career, blatantly and proudly, fly the flag of British Rock. With promising news of a brand new album out next year. Reef are definitely coming back brighter and have not hung up their boards yet.

(Many Thanks To Debbie Gibbs for the photo)

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