REVIEW: Shed Seven
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LEAD singer Rick Witter kept thanking Monday’s Ironworks crowd for their patience – but he wasn’t referring to the 16-year wait for ironically-titled new album Instant Pleasures.
Released just days before the Shedcember tour, the album sits at number eight in the main album chart, one in the vinyl chart and – as Rick happily told us just the two or three times – number six in the Scottish album chart.
He had requested fans’ patience because he was not a well man, though the evidence for that really only came the day after the gig on the band’s Facebook page. They pulled out of the next three dates to give Rick a chance to recover.
But if he hadn’t told us after opening song Where Have You Been Tonight? that he was suffering from “an infection” we would barely have known Rick was unwell.
It wasn’t till 13 songs in and first encore number Getting Better that – again ironically – it was finally possible to hear that Rick was getting worse.
His throat suddenly sounded properly husky and a little bit weaker for the first time after a night of giving it full effort on the vocals and the hyperactive frontman moves.
Speaking to the paper before the Inverness gig, Rick had emphasised that the band wanted the tour to be the traditional December celebration of the old songs – the tour had been sold as such before the new album release had been announced.
And it was a classic ‘best of’ set – including She Left Me On A Friday, On Standby, High Hopes, Bully Boy, Disco Down, Going For Gold (everyone belting it out) and giant join-in monster Chasing Rainbows, still the ultimate wilful dreamers’ anthem about keeping the faith.
It was easy to see the two new Instant Pleasures songs included in the set as just a bonus. But slotted in at fifth song, It’s Not Easy was a huge singalong – and the band were justifiably ballsy enough about the strength of first single Room In The House to place it as final number of the main set. The crowd belted out the lyrics and whooo-wooos before the band even got into its stride – including a nice guitar line from Paul Banks. And the song already feels like one of the band’s biggest hitters.
The gig felt like a homecoming with a crowd mostly composed of middle-aged guys, some with sons, some with their partners, but many in the target age group that discovered Shed Seven’s music with beer, romance, freedom and adventure.
You felt privileged to witness their honest-to-goodness worship – guys singing along in the front row syllable perfect from start to finish.
From the off the night felt epic, the lights going up on the Sheds and bathing the stage in scarlet with white fairylights draped around it creating a festive twinkle. It all had the feeling of some giant family celebration do – Rick’s banter, his bordering-on-the-drunk-uncle uninhibited dance moves and his pranking theft of the band member’s setlists to fire them into the crowd. All that, with the tightest of live bands – complete with brass section on the night.
The live experience makes it easy to see why fans are happy to sign up for a re-run of their shared musical past with the band – but also why they would want to buy into the Shed-shaped future Instant Pleasures can offer. MC