Shed 7 - Manchester Academy 1 - 5.12.02

For the criticism of the Britpop era, there's no denying that the bands who were successful were the ones who simply wrote the best tunes and the marketing and image of the band simply came as an after thought. Nowadays in these times where if you're friend of a friend of the sixth cousin of one of the Strokes you're guaranteed a music weekly front cover and the idea of simply forming a band because you write memorable songs it  considered quite a romantic quaint notion. Where the likes of the Bluetones, Gene and Echobelly have failed somewhat in their post Britpop comebacks, the Sheds have continued to fill out venues three times the size of the latest rock & roll sensations and on their latest tour they prove that they still know their way around a classic tune.

Rick Witter has always been one of the ordinary folks so when he walks on stage and announces "She can ride my cock and he can make me a cup of tea" it's more Carry On style humour than Gallagher arrogant rock star bravado. In fact the nearest to rock & roll the Shed's have ever got is having a frontman who bounces around more than legendary childrens TV raspberry blowing superstar puppet Pob. Jaunting round the country as an early Christmas present to their fans it's business as usual with only a semi acoustic rendition of "Chasing Rainbows" offering any real surprises - but when you have the likes of "Going For Gold", "Dolphin", "On Standby" and "Cry For Help" in your reportoire it would be a little churlish to ask for revised versions of these crystalised moments of perfection.

With the band in the process of recording the follow up to "Truth Be Told" album they take the opportunity to air a couple of newies which suggest that the Sheds could be heading to a Top 10 Chart Position somewhere near you soon. One currently untitled track sounds like a slightly older relation of "Disco Down" with Stevie Wonder keyboard motifs aplenty, while the other 2 newies are classic Shed 7 moments with the Smiths influences worn clearly on their sleaves. It's going to a tough ride back to the top with all the cynicism that exists, but Rick Witter and the boys have been around long enough to know that when the times right, their fans will behind them all the way.

Alex McCann

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