Shed Seven review – a nostalgia rush from the Britpop songbook

Castlefield Bowl, Manchester
Rick Witter’s 90s band offer very little in the way of progression, but they recapture the spirit of a bygone era

“Do you remember the 1990s? They were mental,” says Shed Seven singer Rick Witter. It seems the audience do, as screams erupt and pint glasses rocket into the sky, setting the tone for an evening that seems intent on recapturing the spirit of a bygone era.

Opening song Room in My House, from their 2017 comeback album, returns to the band’s trademark template of big, ever-mounting euphoric choruses and steady chugging guitar interspersed with solos. It’s the sort of meat-and-potatoes indie rock that bands such as Kasabian resuscitated after the Britpop bubble bloated and burst around the turn of the millennium.

Older material like High Hopes and Ocean Pie is slotted neatly, and often indistinguishably, alongside newer tracks like Butterfly on a Wheel. When things feel like they’re getting a little stodgy and predictable, the band bring out a trio of brass players and some backing vocalists, who give a needed lift and welcome change in texture and structure. As a result, on songs like It’s Not Easy, the band end up sounding a little closer to the tone of 90s Spiritualized rather than the Stone Roses or Oasis – a comparison that so rattled Noel Gallagher back in the day, he once proclaimed, “Shed Seven couldn’t tie my shoelaces”.

However, as with the solo Gallagher brothers’ live reliance on Oasis’ back catalogue, the songs of Shed Seven’s heyday continue to resonate the loudest: their closing run is so rapturously received that the crowd almost drown them out with their singing. She Left Me on Friday, Disco Down and Going for Gold are all unapologetic nostalgia rushes: songs that feel like they’ve earned their place in the Britpop songbook.

Shed Seven may offer very little in the way of progression, innovation or anything resembling contemporary sounds, but in times like these you can’t begrudge people wanting to unplug from 2018 for a couple of hours and escape back to a time of singing songs about Chasing Rainbows and Better Days.


Daniel Dylan Wray

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Britpop songs – 10 of the best
For some it meant the arrogant swagger of Oasis and cheek of Blur, to others it stood for the perceptive wit of Pulp, but mostly the Britpop moment produced catchy tracks about youth on the move

Caroline Sullivan

15, Feb, 2017 @12:10 PM

Article image
Shed Seven: Instant Pleasures review – anthemic flowering from Britpop quintet

Dave Simpson

09, Nov, 2017 @10:15 PM

Article image
Lunch With the Wild Frontiers by Phill Savidge review – Britpop years writ large
This memoir by the promoter of Suede and Pulp is a lively love letter to a bygone era

Jason Watkins

04, Jun, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Britpop wasn't perfect, but it was ours | Elinor Davies
Eli Davies: I’m puzzled why this wave of nostalgia for the likes of Blur and Oasis has annoyed people quite so much. They brought a bit of joy to a grey era

Eli Davies

14, Apr, 2014 @11:51 AM

Article image
Britpop: a cultural abomination that set music back

Michael Hann: During the heyday of Blur and Oasis, ruthless ambition became the order of the day, as scores of unrelentingly pedestrian bands ditched everything that once made British pop music interesting

Michael Hann

24, Apr, 2014 @6:00 PM

Article image
Quiz: How much do you know about Britpop?

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Blur's Parklife, here are 30 questions to test your knowledge of mid-to-late 90s British guitar music

Jack Dutton

25, Apr, 2014 @11:38 AM

Article image
Devendra Banhart: 'I love almost every Britpop band'

The Venezuelan singer and artist on Britpop, life under Chávez and childhood memories of bugs' guts

Chris Salmon

21, Mar, 2013 @10:37 PM

Article image
Oscar: Cut and Paste review – fay Britpop with glorious melodies

Harriet Gibsone

12, May, 2016 @6:30 PM

Article image
Suede review – secret gig as Crushed Kid is extremely loud and incredibly close
Matching the garage-y sound of their new record to a 300-capacity venue, this show is a euphoric return to basics

Dorian Lynskey

06, Sep, 2022 @9:11 AM

Article image
Shiiine On Weekender – Bez's pool party, Britpop bastions and middle-aged boozers
For one weekend in November, the Minehead Butlins turns into an idyll for forgotten indie tribes, with performances from the Bluetones, Ash, Dodgy, the Wonder Stuff, Black Grape, Shed 7, er, the Clone Roses, and more

Mark Beaumont

14, Nov, 2016 @5:27 PM