Shed Seventh Heaven - Middlesbrough Town Hall
By Robert Nichols
Monday 09 Dec 2019 17:17:00
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Shed Seven/The Twang – Middlesbrough Town Hall - There was a real retro feel to Middlesbrough Town Hall last weekend; Saturday night it was the Bluetones holding court down in the Crypt then on Monday Shed Seven moved the clock dials back to the 90s filling the Town Hall from top to bottom. The York band with the golden touch were ably supported by The Twang, ready to really take off again from the launch pad they laid down a decade ago. Nostalgia then from the big hitting bands, last Monday everyone was definitely Going for Gold.

It was 15 years ago that The Twang first forged their indie shuffle in the West Midlands heartlands. This year saw the release of a fifth studio album, If Confronted Just Go Mad, with the latest incarnation of the band including two backing singers, as well as the original core of singer Phil Etheridge, bassist Jon Watkin, guitarist Stu Hartland.

The singer engaged the audience from the start. Lyrics are very up front throughout and strike many chords. Drummer Ash Sheehan may have been having trouble with snare drums collapsing about him but he kept an infectious bouncy beat to augment the triple vocal sound and hooky guitar.

The “This Is Our Town and we live here,” line in We're A Crowd could be Middlesbrough in 2019 just as easily as a Black Country anthem. Mind you in Middlesbrough they had enjoyed Yorkshire puddings the size of plates, we were told. I am not sure if your Birmingham balti will be quite so filling.

The set was being well digested, most of the crowd getting down early and thoroughly enjoying their starter. If proof was needed that The Twang continue to really hit the mark then final song Took The Fun proved to be a genuine crowd singalong with echoes of the La la lah lah loh chorus rippling around the hall.

Shed Seven, the glittering Yorky guitar band hit machine at the front end of Brit Pop in the 1990s bounced back with a new album in 2017. Rick Witter is now dancing again on his magic carpet to newish as well old favourites. Just as well the Bluetones played first as he might have taken scissors to the rug Rick spreads out centre stage.

Shed Seven delivered a silver service soundtrack through the 1990s. Delivered from York with love, glowing guitar lines, Rick Witter's cheeky chappy vocalist. All the elements were still here to delight at Middlesbrough Town Hall in 2019.

The set kicked in with a sprinkling of songs from Instant Pleasures as well as back catalogue. Where – Have – You – Been – Tonight, Rick Witter spells it out as the guitar bubbles and brews. A brass section appears from over the horizon to take us out into the an indoor sun.

Shame On You, Witter exclaims and even in the balcony we feel the full force of his wrath. The band then put the breaks on momentarily with the anthemic High Hopes and people are dancing in the aisles as well as the standing area down front.

Now it is a quick intermission of Rick Witter on twitter, met his audience with charming and disarming irreverence. Inviting everyone round for a slow cooker meal to one tweeter. A 10 year old boy in the audience would be bunking off school tomorrow, Rick reckoned. As for Middlesbrough Chief Exec, Tony Parkinson's proclaimed passion for his town... well. “That went down like a bag of Sh*te,” said Rick at the “mixed” reaction.

Then came the stream of hits and few bands have as many. The old hall was jumping as the band belted out It's Getting Better All The Time. Rick descended into the pit to feed the microphone to the audience. Great singing, he said afterwards, “those that knew the words.”

The set comes to a climax for Going For Gold, out come the brass section in gold jackets. A backcloth like foil. The whole place is sparkling.

Roars of delight bring the band back out for encores. Rick is at the maracas building up to a truly epic finish of Disco Down followed by Chasing Rainbows. Bright white lights play out from stage into the crowd and it is a truly euphoric finale. Shed Seventh heaven.


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