Shed Seven – Hull City Hall Photograph: Toomer Gig Photography
Shed Seven: Another night, another town.
There are certain things in life that give you that feeling that the festive season is upon us, whether it’s that first Christmas advert on the telly, mince pies appearing on the supermarket shelves, or getting busted by whamageddon on the first day of advent.
Whatever it is, you know the festivities can now truly begin. That list definitely now includes the biannual Shedcember tour and for those of us robbed of our chance to enjoy live events last year, this year’s event was met with even more anticipation than ever.
With the tour a week old and Scotland already having been rocked to its foundations, we dashed home from work and headed off to Hull for our own slice of Christmas flavoured Ocean Pie!
First up was John McClure, front man of indie stalwarts Reverend and The Makers. A late change to the original tour line up meant new support acts were drafted in at very short notice with John taking the role of warm up act for 8 of the first 9 gigs. Armed with an acoustic guitar, clearly well loved and worn due to the gaffer tape holding it together, John got us off and running in fine style. Despite the stripped back approach of one voice and two acoustic guitars, which the man himself admitted left him feeling exposed and slightly nervous this was an accomplished set from clearly a very talented performer. Engaging with the crowd, encouraging singalongs, even pairing one side of the crowd off against another in true panto style to keep up with the spirit of the season everyone was soon singing along, and the atmosphere was building up nicely.
As well as few old favourites from his own repertoire we were even treated to an acoustic cover of The Specials classic A Message to You Rudy, which was very well received, before ending the set with The Makers own crowd favourites Champion of The World and Silence Is Talking. Short notice or not this was an impressive start to the night.
Next up were the stars of the show themselves, and, with a slightly different look this time following Joe and Alan’s decision to take a break we ventured into the night with Rick, Paul and Tom joined by Max on drums and Tim Guitar/Keyboards. The band took to the stage to the now usual roar of approval and anticipation they meet wherever they go and after a quick how do you do we were off and running into Room in my House.
For an old Shed Head like me, who first watched the band playing a local venue in Harrogate way back in the early 90’s this was a nostalgic journey through the bands back catalogue. The band’s first Album, Change Giver was given an outing with Casino Girl, Dolphin and Ocean Pie getting an airing as well as songs from most of the bands previous albums, including Maximum High which is celebrating its 25-year anniversary this year.
Now I could list all the songs they played, such as Bully Boy, Going for Gold and Heroes, but what’s the point in that, if you want to know what songs the band sing you can pick up any CD cover for that. What I really want to share with you is what it’s like at a Shed Seven gig. What is it that makes these events so anticipated by thousands of fans every other year and what keeps us coming back for more?
I have heard the band described as having a cult following, which if I am honest, I think is slightly unfair. The fact many of the shows on the tour are complete sell outs is testimony to their mainstream popularity. Whether they play in Aberdeen, Nottingham, London, Glasgow, Manchester or indeed Hull, people flock in their thousands to be entertained by Rick and the boys. They are, quite simply an absolute top notch live band who come alive on stage and give absolutely everything to every performance they give. When you add that to the fact they have an absolutely cracking catalogue of anthemic songs, then you have a recipe for the sort of night you get every time Shed Seven take the stage. Tonight was no different.
You cannot watch a Shed Seven gig; you have to get involved and become a part of it. I have likened these before to being at football match before and that’s exactly how it feels at times. The crowd come alive in response to what is happening onstage, there is an energy with the crowd feeding off the band and the band feeding off the crowd. Every single song is belted back at them at the top of every voice in the venue.
There were a few moments of calm with a fabulous acoustic rendition of Speakeasy but after bouncing our way through On Standby the temperature was again at boiling point with Bully Boy sending the whole place into overdrive. Going for Gold fused into an Elvis cover of Caught in a Trap…… and by now we all were. Everyone caught in the trap of sweaty, ear bursting, beer spilling euphoria that must sound thoroughly unpleasant to everyone not in the middle of the action, but if you are then you absolutely love it.
Things were brought to a close with the now traditional serenading of Chasing Rainbows, leaving the final word to Rick “ Its ace to be back playing music again.” He’s not wrong!