Reef at the Institute, Birmingham, UK – 16th November 2013

Posted by Bianca on Saturday Nov 16, 2013 Under 90s, Britpop, Grunge, Rock

Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Reef

Back in post Grunge 90s, a time which is fondly referred to as the Britpop era, Reef – although nowhere near as fashionable as the likes of Blur and Oasis – were definitely one of the bands to see live due to their immense energy, pure rock and stage presence, not to mentioned the plethora of catchy riff laden tunes. Coupled with the amazing vocal talents of Gary Stringer and his raucous growling south-western drawl made them a class act. Then, like that, they were gone. Caput. Not a sausage was heard.

Reef

Fast forward to 2013 and Reef, like a growing number bands of yesteryear – have found their way back on to ‘the circuit’ perhaps missing the buzz of being on the road, or possibly the dwindling royalty cheques…

Reef

Celebrating their 20th anniversary of being a band, they are greeted with chants of ‘REEF REEF REEF!’ from the already anticipatory crowd, the lights went dark and then it was if the 4 piece from Glastonbury had never been away as they made their way to the picturesque setting of Birminghams Institute.

Reef

Instantly allaying any fears that they were just doing this for a quick buck, they kicked off with ‘Back in my Place’ a lesser known song but the perfect opener with its building bass line and hypnotic vocal. It was as if they’d never been away. Heads bobbing in unison to the catchy riff, the bobbing long hair of Stringer and the awesome vocal talents that he effortlessly delivers.

Reef

‘It’s great to be here man’ announced the likeable frontman, cheeky grin in tow, on the bands return to the second City as they burst into ‘Stone for your Love’ and fans favourite ‘Come Back Brighter’. Excellent!

Reef

Riff laden track with stomping bass line followed one another with gay abandon, but one trick ponies they are not. Having played a couple of tracks from their first record, the band launched into the mesmerising and hauntingly beautiful ‘Consideration’. Then it was back to type with ‘that song’ made famous by Chris Evans TFI Friday ‘Place Your Hands On’. Hands aloft in unison, crowd and band performed to one another, both appreciative of their counterparts efforts.

Reef

“This is the song that got us back into the studio” stated the long haired vocalist prior to sloping into the first of their new songs, the intriguingly entitled ‘Barking at Trees’, which shares its name with the British film in which it appears. A grower for sure, but it carried all of the hall marks of classic Reef.

Reef

Their encore featured both double A sides from their first 7” (remember them?) which had a new track ‘You Got It’ as the filling to the sandwich, all of which were expertly delivered.

Reef

As the lights rose and the fans made their way to the exits, it seemed that two topics of conversation were on everybody’s lips, namely Reefs absence from the musical arena for the past 10 years or so and the hope that the ‘Peter Pans of music’ who never seem to age will be gracing their legion of fans with a new album in the not too distant future. Fingers crossed!

Reef

One Response to “Reef at the Institute, Birmingham, UK – 16th November 2013”

  1. Rena Says:

    I saw reef at Castle Donington. The band were playing to only about 300 people maybe. They were superb, best live band I’ve seen in years. The music is timeless, the lead singer’s voice is wonderful to listen to. The atmosphere was lively. Definitely a band worth seeing over and over
    again

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