Shed Seven – UEA, Norwich – Tuesday 10th December 2019
Disclaimer: Shed Seven have been one of my favourite bands since I was 13; I am now 37! Therefore, this review may be somewhat biased.
Falling on alternate years, Shedcember is one of the main highlights of my year (if it’s an odd number!) and this year’s gig was no exception. We arrived in good time to position ourselves within touching distance of the main man himself. Rick Witter, the lead singer, always gets down to crowd level when singing Getting Better, so we were anticipating his arrival. Standing firmly on the second row, we endured the Twang who, on paper I should like, I didn’t enjoy in the slightest. I suppose it is like waiting for your Chinese banquet and having to make do with a soggy prawn cracker to whet your appetite.
Lights off, a dramatic entrance followed and they hit us instantly with Room in my House, a single taken from Instant Pleasures, an album released two years ago, sixteen years after the previous. While the song is a belter, fans intent only on reliving the ‘90s seemed confused. Others were singing along to each and every word. Next came my very favourite track of theirs, Where have you been tonight?, and it sounded sublime as always. By this point, my voice was already going, my throat sore.
Hit after hit followed with songs old and new engaging the crowd. The band’s chemistry was obvious too, with Joe and Tom almost engaging in a Status Quo-esque guitar and bass dance. Rick and Paul seemed to share a joke or two as well, with a rare smile coming from the latter on several occasions.
Getting Better came midway through the set and, as explained earlier, involved significant audience participation. Note to self: remember earplugs next time! Rick thrust the mic into almost the entirety of the front row’s faces. Rick’s banter was, as always, on form and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was him who had a session at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. In fact, that was Alan, but as the drummer, you don’t really get to hear much of his voice at all during the gig except for the backing vocals for It’s Not Easy.
Another highlight for me was the anthemic slow song High Hopes; a mixture of beautiful music and touching lyrics makes it the ideal song to sway along to as well as sing. Going for Gold was the final song before they said their faux-goodbyes and pretended to leave the stage for the night; I didn’t spot a single person not joining in with this classic Shed Seven track.
Three songs made up the encore. 2017 track, Invincible, followed by ‘90s Disco Down complete with a surprising intro twist. The final track, as has been the case in 90% of Shed Seven gigs I’ve been to, was Chasing Rainbows: a favourite for so many and the chance to end the night on a real high.
The band were really on top form and with the addition of some much-needed nostalgia on a cold winter’s school night in Norfolk, it certainly was the formula for a fantastic gig and top night out. My only complaint would be that so many people were filming song after song. Doing that means that people behind are constantly seeing the gig through someone else’s device, and they are not really involved in the moment. I don’t mind filming one or two tracks or taking a few snaps, but getting your phone out song after song is too much. Many have said that this tour has been the best they’ve seen them on and I cannot disagree. What a way to start the festive season for me and so many other Sheds fans. Roll on 2021!