Reef and Broken Witt Rebels at Academy 2: Live Review
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin
Well, this is an interesting pairing with Broken Witt Rebels opening this evening and although there are some die-hard fans at the front the venue is only holding a paltry sized audience who have made the effort to see this band. Those that are here are making plenty of noise as the band launch into Money before wasting no time jumping into the bluesy Bottom Of the Hill and the soulful Fearless. Their love of playing in Manchester is well expressed and this is the fourth time we have witnessed them – they are great everytime.
The Rebels get to play 11 songs and they are playing their hearts out through every one. I am fairly sure they are winning some new fans along the way even if the applause amongst much of the growing audience is merely polite, they are not going to let that get in the way of delivering a sterling performance… Spell On You, Snake Eyes and Guns are the highlights in what is a solid, inspired and perfectly delivered set.
Reef are making a return to the Manchester Academy having tried to destroy Britpop some months ago. They are here in support of their new album Revelation which is a bizarre mixed bag in itself. Having said that the band go on to perform five songs from it so their belief in it is strong.
Opening with a cracker is always a wise move and Naked allows the band to hit the ground running with it’s funky groove and they manage to keep that vibe going with Stone For Your Love and New Bird.
Of the new songs Revelation still sounds like they are releasing their inner AC/DC although Precious Metal, the best song on the album is equally strong live and shows they can still do it when they set their mind to it even if the chorus sounds like Def Leppard. None of other new songs really cut it, sadly, and let’s be honest it is the old material that everyone is here for.
Unsurprisingly the Britpop crowd has grown up and is a looking as old and grey as the band on stage but what was surprising was the choice of The Faces Stay With Me at the end of the encore which kind of works… and kind of doesn’t. Personally I wish they would have played more from Replenish, they could have slotted in a couple of songs instead of the covers.
Overall, got to hand it to the Rebels who were undoubtledly the better band on the night… #uptheRebels