When [B]Gary[/B] sits down and plays acoustic, to the inevitable sea of stadium rock limbs aloft, or throws himself bare-chested into the crowd at the end, you get the feeling they wouldn't know cl

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The Beatles

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The Beatles

[I]”Oh place your hands on my pole…”[/I]

Er, no thanks, mate.

[I]”And your fingers in my hole…”[/I]

Steady on there champ! This is a family venue!

These are quite possibly not the exact words bellowed by GARY out of[a]Reef[/a] at the sweaty climax of their nightly rock’n’roll love-in. But some of us would like to think they were. Because [a]Reef[/a] are the kind of hairy, grunting, thrusting bunch of big boys who your mother thinks are in rock’n’roll bands. Gary looks like the ‘yob’ with a motorbike whom your older sister controversially went out with in 1975. JACK looks like the lanky stable lad whom your older sister wasn’t allowed to go near when she was into ponies. And the now legendary KENWYN HOUSE looks like JEFF BECK‘s son, whom your older sister’s mate is rumoured to have… yeah, you get the picture.

But it’s evidently the older brothers with whom that enduring image strikes a chord. Because, while something seems rotten in the state of indie rock, [a]Reef[/a] can sell out a tour like this even when they haven’t got a record out, thanks chiefly to the TFI/Virgin constituency and the Campaign For Real Rock. And you know it makes sense when sinewy riff after riff and hoary hollering choruses conspire to dig at your gutmost rock instincts.

But the thing that makes them more than INXS with chest hair is pure gonzo rock energy. They couldn’t calculate this if they tried. When Gary sits down and plays acoustic, to the inevitable sea of stadium rock limbs aloft, or throws himself bare-chested into the crowd at the end, you get the feeling they wouldn’t know clichi if it was the name of an effects pedal.

They only lose it tonight when they depart from their natural formula and attempt to do slow and spacey. Because Gary is not JIM MORRISON and they’re not THE DOORS. They’re not even cut out to be THE CATFLAPS, truth be told. There’s no great cosmic metaphysics or poetic grace here and there’s no point looking for it. It’s a good hard shag, with no need for foreplay. So, lock up your older sisters and enjoy.