Shed Seven - Preston Guildhall - 16.4.01

The press may not give a flying fig about these guys but try and tell that to tonight's audience. It really is as if the Sheds exist in a parallel universe. TV, Press, Radio may not give a damn about them but there are countless fans running round the venue who can't wait to hear the likes of "Going For Gold" and "Chasing Rainbows". Its been a tough time for the band of late and you've got to give them credit just for returning from those darker times. After all the reason they left Polydor was because their A&R man decided that indie wasn't cool and went onto judge Popstars - add onto that the fact that they wanted to change song titles on the Greatest Hits album and you have a pretty dodgy situation for anyone with principles.

So here we are tonight in Preston. The type of place Rick Witter would sing about and the type of place which has one club open on a friday night. A tad exaggerated, I kid you not!!! So after top support band Gloss, who look set to storm the charts sometime this year, Rick Witter bounds on stage like mad Channel 4 puppet Pob. Its ironic that as the band release the mournful "Cry For Help" there's a real sense of optimism in the band. Any problems that arose both with Paul Banks and also the intermediate period we saw on Joe's return last year have been wiped out and its like seeing a band at their peak.

So what else? Top 20 hits by the bucketload with "Disco Down" shining through as one of those dancefloor fillers. "She Left Me On A Friday" wavers between the work of genius and absolute pants. And the new ones are perhaps more suited to the bedroom than the mosh pit, but I guess that's the growing maturity of a band who's moving on from being simply a singles band to a unprecedented level of critical acclaim.

With the return of the Sheds and Echobelly there is prove that once again the guitar scene can be vibrant and exciting. Who needs guitars anyway? We do and chuck 'em at us by the Shed full.

Alex McCann