Shed Seven - Manchester Academy - 19.12.03

Tonight is the last time Shed Seven will ever play Manchester and tomorrow night will be their last ever gig. A sobering through, but hey let's celebrate and give these hard working lads from York a good send off. Their career may have stalled recently but they've had a string of hit singles and some underrated albums plus a fan base who've stood by them through thick and thin.

Launching straight away into the jolliest, most catchiest song ever about being dumped by your girlfriend. "She Left Me On A Friday", an anthem for the disillusioned sees the crowd animated and involved. Rick Witter sarcastically announces that he won't be present for his final performance as it clashes with the Pop Idol finals. We laugh along with his tomfoolery as The Sheds play "Going For Gold" and their last single "Why Can't I Be you". A disgruntled Rick then chastises a fan for phoning his mate up on his mobile halfway through a song and when later on somebody else follows suit, the lanky exasperated frontman confiscates it. Apart from this minor set back and Rick's obviously strained vocal chords this seems just like any other Shed Seven gig. "On Standby" is a live favourite with a terrace chant sing a long, while the more subtle "Devil In Your Shoes" shows Shed Seven weren't just a one trick pony.

A short acoustic spot with Rick and his guitarist doesn't really work as the stripped down sound isn't playing to their strengths, although "Speakeasy" sounds remarkably restrained. Things improve with the rest of the band on stage for the remainder of the set. "Getting Better" and "Disco Down" follow then the band walk off stage. Surely that can't be it. We wait patiently for the encore and eventually the Sheds return with Rick saying "We knew you'd want us back so we waited as long as could as it'd be the last time". The song that started it all "Dolphin" is played reminding us what it was we loved about the band all along - melodic, witty, guitar indie songs and self depreciating humour with a recognizable charm from enigmatic lead singer Rick Witter.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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