One of the great survivors of Britpop are enjoying a triumphant return with a new album – their first in 16 years – and a host of sell-out gigs.
Shed Seven’s biennial Shedcember Christmas tours have become an institution at Sheffield’s O2 Academy – and this year’s promises to be extra special on the back of the release of Instant Pleasures.
Indeed, the Yorkshire favourites’ first show, on Saturday, December 9, – like many others in the band’s Christmas tour – sold out within days, leading to the Sheds adding a second show on Tuesday, November 28.
Rick Witter, frontman of the York band, says: “For the past 10 years we’ve been touring every other year at Christmas time – they come around quite quickly – so this is the 10th anniversary of us reforming and playing our back catalogue in a nostalgic way.
“It just seems to grow every time, and this year has changed with the new album. We’ve had to add extra dates and play bigger venues.”
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The indie-rockers enjoyed huge success in the late 1990s and early Noughties, including seven top-20 hits with songs such as Getting Better, Going for Gold, On Standby, Chasing Rainbows and Disco Down from albums such as Change Giver and top-10 hits A Maximum High and Let It Ride.
However, after fourth album Truth Be told only reached number 42, the band changed labels, but discussions over the release of a fifth album faltered and the band split in 2003.
Rick says: “We reformed in 2007 after a four-year break, The only reason we did was we’re all massive fans of playing live.
“We put on some gigs in 2007, just so we could do what we liked doing, and we were suprised by the level of support and reaction – we had to upgrave venues.
“Ever since then we have just been quite confident going out and playing old material.”
However, he admits new songs were always at the back of their mind – and the front of fans’, given the amount of times they were asked about new recordings.
“For a long time we knew we would, but we were all doing other things and it does need 100 per cent commitment,” says Rick.
“One time we were rehearsing for a gig and starting jamming, just because we knew our back catalogue inside out, and it was a lot of fun. We wrote three or four songs really quickly and found it a really positive experience.”
From there, things spiralled.
Rick says: “We didn’t want to announce we were doing it, because it would put pressure on it. We kept it a little secret and before we knew it we had an album we were really happy with.
“I am just really pleased we have still got it within us.”
Rick says the album, while still sounding like Shed Seven, is not a throwback to the Nineties, but sounds incredibly fresh.
And fans seem to agree – Instant Pleasures reached number eight on its release earlier this month.
Rick says the name works in two ways – not only is it a comment on our tech-obsessed, social media crazy world, but also a literal tongue-in-cheek reference to the tracks themselves.
“Whatever you want these days you just click a button and you’re instantly pleasured,” says the 44-year-old. “It’s certainly the way the world seems to turn at the minute.
“However, it’s also a nice little nod because if you were to play our album you’d be instantly pleasured.
“There are 12 pretty damn cool songs on there.”
Support at the Sheds’ Shedcember tour comes from anotherBritish favourite from the 1990s in Liverpudlian rockers Cast.
Cast enjoyed a string of top-10 hits in the mid-to-late Nineties with tracks such as Sandstorm, Walkaway,Flying, Free Me and Beat Mama.