Review + Photography by John Hayhurst

Shed Seven – Still Going For Gold in Shedcember 2019, Massive Homecoming Yorkshire Gig at Leeds Arena.

Without doubt the biggest band from York has to be Shed Seven, and as a loyal Yorkie I’ve seen them play in some of the smallest pubs and clubs in the city since they first got together, watched them lose the Battle of the Bands competitions, twice and also saw them play plenty of amazing shows at Fibbers and The Barbican in York. It smarts a bit that they choose Leeds as their big homecoming gig on the Shedcember tour this year.

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However, to be honest, York doesn’t have a venue big enough to hold them now, as a couple of years ago they started to re-ascend the rock live music ladder. ‘Instant Pleasures’ their first album in 16 years was released in 2017 and they quickly started getting festival slots where they were able to show a huge crowd that they still have what it takes to perform live. 

This biennial tour is always quickly sold out, they headlined a date at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester last year and are all set for another bumper festival season in 2020 too. They still look trim and focussed, sounding better than ever, no sign of lazy bloated brit-pop excess here, and they all still live local to the area too. This is a big gig for them though, and we’ve already had a couple of cracking performances from The Twang and Reverend and the Makers to warm us all up nicely.

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‘Room in my House’ has been the opening track to their live show since it was released on Instant Pleasures, and those at the front have already started the “Whoa oh oh oh oh, oh oh, yeah yeah yeah”. Happy Mondays are playing down the road at the Academy tonight and they can probably hear it.

‘Mark’ is their debut single from back in 1994 and still delivered with vigour and energy, Rick Witter is as animated as ever, keen to open the mid song banter and get into the crowd for a singalong. ‘Where Have You Been Tonight’ provides the first real opportunity to hear this arena sing it back to them. Rick has been bombarded with twitter requests and frequently dedicates songs to people on his list and even has time for a dig at someone who couldn’t make it to the show because his wife wouldn’t let him go.

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Shed Seven

It has often been said that you don’t realise exactly how many Shed Seven songs you know until you watch them play live, sudden recognition of that long lost chorus still stored somewhere in the recesses of your brain, but it comes out at the right moment. ‘She Left Me on Friday’ being a classic example “Ran off with a Donkey” came from nowhere.

Paul Banks looks like a guitar hero from that late Brit Pop era, same haircut, and plenty of it, meanwhile the rest of us have gone a little bald in the last 20 years but we are still able to bounce along to ‘Getting Better’ although not so great at carrying 3 two-pinter plastic glasses of lager down the steps – the floor was wet throughout the night. The front row don’t seem too brilliant at singing when faced with Rick Witter’s mic in their face, a comedy moment after the song finished where he would say – “You’ve got 2 years to learn the song, fancy getting all the way to the front and not knowing the words!”

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The singles are all played but one or two deeper cuts are thrown in for good measure too, lost single ‘High Hopes’ which should really have been a big hit for them if the record company hadn’t shelved it forever, played with passion and emotion. Then the closer of the set ‘Parallel Lines’ too – nice to hear that live for a change. ‘Going For Gold’ was sublime as ever, and now they have included a section of ‘Angel of Harlem’ to it as well – check out this YouTube clip from the show . With a 3 piece brass section it added some serious punch to the track.

The encore included personal favourite ‘Disco Down’ and then the song everyone was waiting for ‘Chasing Rainbows’. The band have triumphed at their biggest indoor gig in their career, expect them to return in a couple of years’ time for another Shedcember tour, and if there are festival appearances near you next year, then make the most of them. They are really getting better all the time!!

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SETLIST:

Room In My House, Mark, Where Have You Been Tonight?, Devil In Your Shoes, She Left Me On Friday, Enemies & Friends, Ocean Pie, Dolphin, Better Days, On Standby, Getting Better, It’s Not Easy, High Hopes, Bully Boy, Going For Gold/Angel of Harlem, Parallel Lines.

ENCORE: Invincible, Disco Down, Chasing Rainbows

LISTENING: Going For Gold (Singles Compilation Album) – Released 1999

WATCHING: ‘Going For Gold/Angel of Harlem’ recorded at this very gig – https://youtu.be/Ytb9IQGlzBo

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