November 1st at the Cheese & Grain in Frome saw a large crowd waiting patiently in the chilly hall as the press photographers took their place in the pit and dedicated fans already lined the front rails of this sell-out gig. Young and old mixed, the road crew did last minute checks, and as 8 o’clock neared the buzz of anticipation was felt through the venue.
The lights dimmed, the background tunes faded and the crowd rose up as on strolled the young Birmingham-based Broken Witt Rebels, back in the UK for their debut album tour. The show was on! The deep rhythm of ‘Money’ throbbed through the crowd and, as the stage was flooded in light, Danny Core found his voice for ‘Loose Change.’ And what a voice! Although sounding a little restrained at times, this man had soul and he had blues in that set of lungs. Rebels continued with a heavy bass line provided by the well-groomed Luke Davis, while James Dudley provided unfaltering drums throughout.
Core took up his rhythm guitar for ‘Snake Eyes,’ treating the crowd to some hard, melodic riffs that blended well with James Tranter’s guitar boogie, and was rewarded by a big cheer from the crowd.
‘Georgia Pine’ allowed time to slow down and meant the band could play the crowd, and the audience responded. These guys were earning some respect. Then back to Dudley’s sweet lead, the solid drums, and a beat to which even Daviscouldn’t resist shuffling his feet to as they played ‘Fearless.’
Core had the crowd singing along to ‘Howlin’ as Tranter’s guitar sang. Another instrument change for Davis,ready for their cruisin’ blues song,‘Low,’followed by a breathless guitar solo in ‘Getaway Man’ showed these guys were having a ball, and so were the fans.
There was a definite Kings of Leon energy to these guys, with some of that southern Black Stone Cherry bite. Broken Witt Rebels, masters of the slow burn, didn’t just warm up the crowd for Reef, they ignited them.
A swift interlude, then Gary Stringer saluted the fans to the thud of Jack Bessant’s bass as the crowd erupted for Reef’s Revelation show. They jammed straight into the slow grind of the new ‘Just Feel Love,’before the head-banging, relentless funk of ‘Naked,’ ‘Stone For Your Love’ for a bout of tambourine-bashing melody to exercise the vocals of Frome’s full house, then Bessant strummed the heavy bass chords of ‘New Bird.’ Reefwere home.
Slowing the pace to greet the crowd with genuine enthusiasm,Reef played ‘Consideration.’ The fans rocked from side to side with hands in the air, accompanying Stringer all the way into the gospel sound of ‘How I Got Over,’which had heads swaying and hips gyrating.
‘I Would Have Left You’ was a satisfying wall of electric noise that showed the unity between keyboard player, Andy Wallace, and the rest of the musicians, and led well into the new and smouldering ‘Lone Rider.’
The fans danced and grinned along to ‘I’ve Got Something To Say’ while Jesse Wood provided a raucous guitar sound. It was yet another crowd-pleaser, because that’s what this band was all about at this gig. Reefwere tight, professional, and they were also relaxed; band and audience like old friends.
The new, melodic ‘Ball and Chain,’ complete with screaming vocals, had the crowd bouncing before the eagerly anticipated ‘Place Your Hands’– a timeless trackwhich always gets the crowd cheering.Stringer was quick to join the fans, reaching out and working them up, while the rest of band were having a party on stage.
Not losing pace, the title track from their new album Revelation was received like a classic, as was ‘Don’t You like It,’ which featured some intricate guitar play by Wood that bled into Bessant’s bass onslaught backed by a tasty drum flourish by the energetic Guillaume Charreau. ‘Precious Metal,’ another new song, brought Charreau into the spotlight as a rock-hard constant in unison with Bessant’s pounding bass.
Two from the Glow album next: ‘Summers in Bloom,’ which proved a showcase for Stringer’s gritty vocals, and ‘Yer Old,’ another electric frenzy that saw Stringer rejoin the welcoming crowd.
There was a very brief respite before the encore, then Stringer sang ‘My Sweet Love’ (minus Sheryl Crow), ‘Come Back Brighter,’ complete with further battering of drums, and Reef finishing the set with The Faces classic, ‘Stay With Me.’ But the night continued, with Bessant from Reef, and the Broken Witt Rebels havingphotos taken andmeeting with the audience.
Both these bands provided a full-throttle show proving that it’s all about entertaining the fans and having a great time while doing it.
Review: Eric Nash
Eric Nash (www.eanash.wordpress.com ) writes dark fiction which has been published in various magazines and anthologies. He is a member of the Horror Writers’ Association. Join him on
Photography: Emma Painter