Reef @ Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – 4 December 2010

Reef reformed earlier this year, and after a run of shows and some select festival appearances, the West Country’s favourite decided it was too much fun not to do it all over again.

The Wulfrun Hall is near capacity tonight, giving a rousing reception as Reef take to the stage. Bursting straight into ‘I Would Have Left You’, ‘Good Feeling’ and ‘Stone For Your Love’, it’s immediately clear what we may have missed in the last seven years .. some super cool, surf-rock!

It’s like they’ve never been away. ‘Come Back Brighter’, ‘Weird’, ‘Mellow’ and ‘Consideration’ are all delivered with the precise, bluesy, groove-ability that make Reef as cool as they ever were. Gary Stringer has maintained his unique, gravel-laden vocal, and many ladies will be pleased to learn he has not aged in the slightest.

Party and compilation favourite ‘Place Your Hands’ appears mid-set with a mass singalong, during which I’m sure that I can’t be the only person thinking of the parody “It’s Your Letters” from Chris Evans TFI Friday show. Not that anyone would sing that and insult the song’s integrity of course!

Crowd interaction is kept to a minimum, aside from a few thank you’s, they allow the music and performance to do the talking. Jack Bessant, the giant, bearded bassist, stomps around with authority, whilst guitarist Kenwyn House and Gary Stringer are individually absorbed in the groove.

Amongst others come ‘Summer’s In Bloom’, ‘Naked’, ‘Set The Record Straight’, ‘Lately Stomping’  and ‘Choose To Live’. Tracks that are now 10-15 years old, none of which sound dated and all of which justify Reef’s continued existence.

The encore consists of the superbly simple and uplifting: ‘I’ve Got Something To Say’, ‘Waster’, ‘Yer Old’ and ‘End’, and as the giant illuminated “Reef” backdrop fades to black, I realise how much I’d like to witness the whole thing again. Let’s hope they give me, and others, opportunity to do so.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston