Another Good Friday Tramshed with Tax The Heat and Reef
Another packed auditorium and the upper balcony full of happy Reef fans, the vibe was hot and the music was going to rock as the darkness descended on the Good Friday Cardiff crowd. Opening for Reef tonight were Tax The Heat, and the quartet wasted no time to impress the audience opening with Learn To Drown and then the title track of their forthcoming debut album Fed To the Lions. This is a band that just want to play the Rock n Roll, Rhythm and Blues they love with the overarching twist of British attitude and rock. This is no retro quartet, they are building a fan base across the UK having opened with Reef on the 2015 Thunder tour. With two guitars upfront and Alex Veale’s vocal prowess getting lots of harmonizing and support from all of the band in their role as backing vocalists they certainly impressed. Alex plays guitar and sings and JP Jacyshyn adds a mean slide guitar to add a layer of sonic tone that creates shades and interest. Added to this mix is a powerful rhythm section drummer Jack Taylor in the centre and bassist Antonio Angotti they create a sharp modern sound that excites. We were all delighted to hear their latest single Animal and the closing two tracks are not a reflection of the reality of the band. They have definitely not Lost Our Way, (on Debut album) this is rock that connects and the Highway Home will be a long and winding one as they have more and more gigs to play. If you missed them in Wales this time you get a second chance as they are back playing Steelhouse Festival in July another mighty fine reason to get tickets for the weekend.
With the stage set the excitement was palpable as Reef strode onto the stage and greeted with a deafening roar of pure delight from the crowd. With Just Feel The Love kicking the band into action, the love was a two way interaction as they built the energy they were in excellent form. If the only track you really know by Reef is the 1996 top ten hit Place Your Hands, then by Higher Vibration the second number your ears and rock mindset should be pure Reef. With its catchy chorus everyone was soon singing and feeling a part of the show. Reef is an inclusive sound. The set that entertained and set the Tramshed alive with Reef Mania was a mix of old and new, as they explored the tracks from Albums from Replenish through to Live in St Ives, then a couple of new numbers slotted in. Reef today were a band of five with the addition of keyboards who joined the West Country quartet. Garry Stringer, vocals; Jesse Wood, guitar and a rhythm section bassist and sometime acoustic guitarist Jack Bessant and drummer Dominic Greensmith. Gary Stringer’s vocals are full of power, they demand your attention he is in full control and like the band is having as much fun as the audience. On bass Jack, bare footed and with a mane of hair is loud, full of dynamism that is the perfect foil to the antics of Gary up front. With its bounding drum intro courtesy of Dominic and the twang of the banjo makes New Bird, a new song surely already in a box marked next single. It has a stand out rhythm that set this number out from the crowd of Reef delights.
Cardiff crowds never need to be asked twice to sing and tonight they were in full voice. The chorus of Stone For Your Love, was perfect, everyone in good voice enjoying the musical athletics of Gary as he straddled the stage and the barrier to get close to an ecstatic front stage. Delighted to add their voice to the proceedings and to touch hands it was a case of Place Your hands. The set was blistering every track further animating the backed audience as hands went up into the air it was party time as we all sang along. The Tramshed once again, thanks to the music, was on fire and the atmosphere electric, crammed and good-natured full of laughing and camaraderie of shared musical experience. Reef’s West Country rock is infectious with a combination of great melodies, chorus lines that demand audiences to join in. The rock my not be heavy, grungy but it is mighty fine and they can rock with the best as the encore closed with a new track Revelation and closing with Yer Old. While you stand listen and dance to bands like Reef your youth remains an eternal flame. The many Reef fans left the auditorium full of pure enjoyment from hearing Reef up close and an opportunity to belt out the choruses of the many tracks they knew off by heart. Those newer to the Reef chain they knew that this is a band they want to hear again very soon.