01 December 2018
The venue is a small upstairs room with a smaller stage with stuck on signs “don’t put drinks here”. It is as intimate as a gig can get , I have seen REEF many-a-time in small venues, however non were this small. Tonight was 1 of 3 sold out shows in London , and interviewing the support band , the Birmingham 4 piece Broken Witt Rebels , their changing room was part of the bar area curtained off. No luxury back stage antics here , this was going to be basic , but rock and roll at its best is just that.
BWR are a hungry band , they work hard and they know where they want to go. They are still supporting their 2017 eponymous debut LP and several EP releases. Their new LP recorded in the US is due for a 2019 release. On stage Danny Core takes stage front and centre as vocals and guitar. His strong American sounding voice has led to comparisons to likes of Kings of Leon , although not untrue doesn’t tell the full story. For a lad from Birmingham England, he could have come from Birmingham Alabama. When in full flow , his sound has elements of Joe Cocker , James Brown , Jay Buchanan (Rival Sons) as well as his own originality. The stage presence has elements of Jerry Lee Lewis. The 45 minute set comprised of tracks from the debut LP plus the new Fearless. The rest of the band , hatted drummer JD , bassists Luke and guitarists JT (two James in any band will get confusing) all kept a tight unit and pleased the small crowd. BWT have big ideas , they may just come true.
REEF the four piece from Glastonbury were a five piece. The old drummer Dominic Greensmith had gone and his replacement is a French gent with large hair and there was also a keyboard player/drummer. Gary Stringer and Jack Bessant would give ZZ Top a run for their money in regard to hair and beards .Stringer , an underrated front man has no fear and takes charge from the start , Jack , the bearded bassist and Jesse Woods on guitar just get on with it. No Just feel Love ! Reef always start with Just feel love, WTF is going on ? Naked was the set opener and JFL never appeared. Apart from that It was a hot sweaty night for the band and the crowd, both Stringer and Bessant walked into the crowd during the set. This was not a sold out show, the following 2 gigs are , so there was a little room for manoeuvre , but not much. Hannah Grace joined the boys halfway through and later on. The set highlight was Precious Metal , where Jesse Woods showed us he is a great guitarist in his own mold , come back brighter and it ended with a rousing and even more sweating hot cover of Jesses’ dads penned the Faces hit Stay with me. Reef are on fire so the next two shows at Nells will be even hotter.