UK Coverage: Reef live at The GuildHall, St Ives

With the departure of original guitarist Kenwyn House, and a selection of solo projects, some might have thought Reef’s days were numbered but they seem to be here to stay. Some have described the addition of model/guitarist, Jesse Wood, as a masterstroke that has reinvigorated the band but I had yet to see the new line up play. Some may ask who Jesse Wood is; well he’s only the son of one of the World’s most famous rock stars, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones. Replacing Kenwyn was never going to be easy but Jesse seems to be the perfect fit.

The band have been holed up recently writing new material and had announced that they would once again work with legendary producer George Drakoulias to record both of the St Ives gigs for a future live album. This made the night even more special as not only did I get to see the new line up but I can say I was there; can you hear me singing?

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Support on the night came from local lads Wolf Note, whose set certainly brought the crowd to life. Their high octane set went down well with the masses of Reef fans who had arrived early to catch the support and it’s clear to see why they have been making waves in the local music scene. Their grungy, stoner sound is good and reminded me a little of Kyuss mixed with Nirvana and the energy in their live set is great to see. As I watched I couldn’t believe I had never seen them live before but will certainly be checking them out again in the future. After the best part of thirty minutes they thanked the fans for the support and made way for Reef.

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The noise of expectant fans rose as they chatted with friends and fellow fans whilst the stage was set for Reef and after a short while we were ready to go. George Drakoulias made his way onto the stage to tell people about the recording and that they may have to replay certain songs if things went wrong. Fans were then hoping they may get to hear their favourite song several times in one night.

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As Reef hit the stage fans went wild and the atmosphere was amazing. Having seen Reef on numerous occasions I knew roughly what to expect but even I was surprised but how good they were sounding. The mix of songs was very interesting and some would expect a set of all the band’s best known songs but it was not to be. Obviously their biggest hits were there for all to enjoy but they added in several new songs and a couple of cover songs. Until I get to hear the live album I won’t know if this was the right decision, but I can say that a lot of people did head to the bar when the cover songs were played.

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The new material sounded great but again, a lot of people had come for a sing along and didn’t seem too interested which is rather annoying for those around them that want to listen. As the night went on frontman Gary Stringer spoke about how great the local people had been in helping them out and in particular one chap on a moped that had become the tour bus outrider as they drove through the streets of St Ives. As the crowd hung on his every word there was laughter all around the venue at some of the stories and I hope that these tales make it to the cd.

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The band then brought in the Falmouth University choir to do some backing vocals and whoever had come up with this idea deserves a pat on the back as it gave some already awesome songs just that little bit extra. The choir, all dressed in black made the best of the biggest gig of their lives and the grins on their faces were there for all to see. Hopefully they will get them back when they record the new material and add another dimension to their sound.

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As the band neared the end of their longer than usual setlist, fans got an extra treat as it came to light that the bass guitar had not been picked up one track so we got to hear it all over again. This led to cheers of delight from all around me and many wished that others had gone wrong so we could hear them all again but it was not to be. The band finished with another cover which highlighted the keyboards they had added to their sound along with perhaps a new member and people left happy, knowing they had played their part in some Reef history.

Full gallery here.

Wolf Note –


The Guildhall is well known for putting on music events in St Ives and although it doesn’t look much from the outside it was surprising how big it was inside. The sound was great and even though their were numerous security staff positioned around they were not really needed as the night went without any trouble. As I left I wished I had a ticket for the following night as they did it all over again but I’m sure it won’t be long before Reef are back in their second home of Cornwall.



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