Reef @ O2 Academy, Bristol
First up tonight are local Bristolian boys, Tax The Heat, who recieve a very warm welcome indeed from their home crowd. It's easy to see why. These nicely turned out gents boast a sound that is equal parts Rolling Stones, Presidents of the USA and Bad Company. They belt out blues heavy anthems for a full fourty-five minute set to rapturous applause in what has very quickly become a packed out venue before ceding the stage to tonight's main event.
It's obvious from the outset that Reef are very at home in this venue as they launch into the first part of their set. They obviously have a history here as Gary urges the crowd to give new guitarist, Jesse Wood, a warm Locarno welcome, harking back to one of the venue's previous incarnations.
Now, before we get onto the gig itself, I feel I have to share with you the fact that Gary Stringer currentl looks exactly how I imagine Andrew Lincoln might look like as Rick Grimes in a couple of season's time. Not convinced? Then you can make up your own mind.
With that little image exorcised from by brain, the gig itself was great. A nice mix of classics with a couple of brand new tunes thrown in to whet the appetite from what we can only hope will be a forthcoming album. The night felt a little heavy on tracks from Glow. Hardly surprising, given it's position as the bands most commercially successful offering, but I would like to have heard a slightly more varied set.
As for the new tunes, it feels as though the band are taking a much more mellow direction going forward with Stringer strapping ona his acoustic guitar for new track, Lone Rider.
Highlights of the evening predictably came in the form of Come Back Brighter, Consideration, the anthemic Place your Hands, and set closer Naked. Although there was a definte heart warming moment for me personally as they belted out an encore rendition of Yer Old, one I used to play for various people's birthdays in my DJ'ing days and incredibly apt as I turned one year older only a day later.
If you have the chance to catch them at one of their remaining show, I would highly recommend it as you'll get a good idea of where these guys have come from to get to where they are, and an inkling of what to expect from here.
Check out their website at http://www.reefband.com/ for tour dates.