Reef @ KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – Friday 30 June 2023


“It’s your letters! It’s your leeee-tters!” Or so it went some time ago in the mid/late 90s. It’s been 28 years since I first saw Reef at Nottingham’s Rock City, and their music has long since proved to be much more durable than the now-very-dead Sony MiniDisc that their classic ‘Naked’ was used to promote all those years ago. Well, thank f**k it’s Friday, because Reef are in sunny (sort of) Wolverhampton. Opening with the title track of their latest album, Shoot Me Your Ace, the AC/DC-infused rocker gets the evening off to a potent start, with heads bobbing, fists pumping, and the crowd booming out the ‘Oh Whoa Oh Oh!’ refrain ramped up to eleven. A set list featuring eight songs from 1997’s Glow­ (re-issued last year for its 25th anniversary), three from Replenish, and four from Shoot Me Your Ace, Reef’s evolution as a band is apparent – both musically and on stage. I remember how they worked that small stage downstairs at Rock City, and how they’ve worked every stage I’ve seen them on since, and not once have they disappointed. And tonight is no exception.

Reef enjoy playing live, and they know they’ve got the songs, but there’s not even the faintest tang of arrogance about them. Reef have a swagger and an attitude about them, but they are here for the music, for the crowd, for the experience – as they always have been. And the crowd know it too. One might justifiably go so far as to say that the band’s performance tonight is what a rock show should be. Following the February announcement of guitarist Jesse Wood leaving the band, Amy Newton has taken over as sole guitarist – and what a player she is! With Bessant’s groove-heavy, less-is-more approach to the bass, Bullen’s simultaneously funky and driving drumming, and Stringer’s cool roar, Newton slips into the groove and plays like she’s been in the band since day one. And like the many gigs since Wood left, tonight’s performance shows that Reef are a great four-piece.

2022’s Shoot Me Your Ace is great album, and just a nudge over 28 years since their debut album, Replenish, was released, a few changes in line-up and musical direction later, Reef are still going strong. Their next album may be a while away – we need time to let Shoot Me Your Ace sink in – but I bet it’ll be a scorcher.

Witnessed by Jason Guest

Band website

Set list:

  1. Shoot Me Your Ace
  2. Stone For Your Love
  3. Naked
  4. Higher Vibration
  5. Consideration
  6. Right On
  7. I’ve Got Something To Say
  8. Place Your Hands
  9. Best Of Me
  10. Come Back Brighter
  11. I Would Have Left You
  12. New Bird
  13. Refugee
  14. Give Me Your Love
  15. Summer’s In Bloom
  16. Revelation
  17. Don’t You Like It?


  1. Mellow (Gary & Jack Acoustic)
  2. Lucky Number
  3. Yer Old
  4. End