O2 Academy Bournemouth

It’s Saturday night in the O2 Academy (Bournemouth) & it’s day 2 of the Musicosity Festival! After a disappointing turnout Friday at the Old Fire Station the numbers tonight are swelled by the knowledge that surf-rockers Reef are in town. Tonights bill comprises 4 bands. Openers Gideons Demise are an Indie/Rock outfit from just up the road in Southampton.

They play a very clean,polished brand of Rock & are perfect as openers. Gideon (vox) has a confident delivery with a slight leaning towards Elbow in places,while musically the band recall Puressence (to this reviewer anyway)! Jim on bass is the bands shapeshifter while Mikes drums are constant throughout. This is a band whose music is touted as being potentially ‘stadium sized rock’. On tonight’s evidence they’re heading in the right direction,only time will tell.

The O2: Pump Action Radio

Next up are Bournemouth’s very own Blink 182, Pump Action Radio! Their entire set is delivered at pace yet the vocals are strong & delivery tight. As a genre these kind of bands are ‘ten a penny’ but where PAR differ is in their songs. The lyrics can be heard while their music is coherent. They also have great stage presence and huge confidence. Confident enough as they take on a Pixie Lott cover in the shape of ‘Boys & Girls’. Its lost on me but the crowd warm to them more. PAR are made for big stages & one hopes they get spotted by the right people & given that all important big band support slot.

The O2: Gel

Penultimate act Gel are back after a long hiatus (15 years or more)! I never saw these guys back in the day but they were revered locally. They play what can only be described as ‘spliff-rock’,on tonight’s evidence anyway! They spend their entire set gurning, nodding, kneeling, turning, more gurning-you get the picture! Bournemouth’s answer to Reef you might say,but they have there own unique style . If ever a band was made for chilling by the beach,sipping a cold beer & watching the sun go down its Gel. Their early songs are slow & melodic (chilled)! Then they up the ante,throw in some chunky riffs & this crowd take their first tentative steps. The power increases while the confidence grows & we get a set full of surf/rock tunes. By the end of the set the guitarist is on his knees,the singer’s axe is around his knees while the bassist just carries on gurning!!! The drums become thunderous as they end their set leaving us begging for more. We hope this is not a one-off.

And so to the headliners. When Reef reformed a year ago some would have used the old addage ‘back for another payday’, but on tonight’s evidence lets hope they’re back for a while longer. Gary looks lean as he struts onstage,grinning as he goes. They open with ‘Come Back Brighter’ which is apt really, it’s as if they never went away. However Jack (bass) is sporting a great shade of grey in beard & locks! Tonights set is culled from their extensive back catalogue & there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. Thankfully, they do ‘Place Your Hands’ mid set which really gets this crowd going. Gary reminds us what a certain Mr. Paul Weller did in giving them a leg-up on his ‘Wild Wood Tour’ on the back of an early demo that came his way.

The O2: Reef

Gary is still doing the ‘monkey walk’ whilst milking the applause. Not for a while have I seen a frontman look so happy! The acoustic guitar comes out for the truly brilliant ‘I’ve Got Something To Say’ which is the 2nd big singalong of the night. Kenwyn (guitar) is shoegazing and shapeshifting in equal measure while Dom is pounding the skins. After just shy of an hour they leave the stage to rapturous applause but return with a 3 song encore. The highlight is ‘Yer Old’ which is brilliant & induces a wild moshpit. This was a first for this reviewer,hopefully wont be the last we see of Reef. One feels on tonight’s evidence there’s so much more ‘in the tank’! The band take their final bow,Gary is still grinning. Highlight of the weekend? Oh yes!

Reef Setlist
Come Back Brighter
Good Feeling
Stone For Your Love
I Would Have Left You
New Bird
Place Your Hands
Don’t You Like It
Summer’s In Bloom
I’ve got something to say
Lately Stomping
Choose To Live

Yer Old


Words By Ross Ferrone.
Photos By Dan O’Gara.

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