I was never really a fan of York’s finest, Shed Seven back in the days of Britpop but strangely found some comfort, maybe even hope from their gig at Ironworks in Inverness.

When I told people I was only really along to see support act, Foggy City Orphan who had invited me to the gig, I  got some mystified looks.

I’d never seen Foggy City Orphan live before so I was delighted to accept their invitation and thought it would also be an opportunity to take some photos  for an article on the band and their music.  Maybe, just maybe I would hang about long enough to snap Shed Seven.

You can head over here to discover more about Foggy City Orphan

Shed Seven

The Foggy City Orphan article probably isn’t for you if you only use Spotify to search for old Stone Roses songs.  Spotify, iTunes and the like do actually make it easier to find good new bands with very little effort.  You might just find your favourite new band, like Foggy City Orphan maybe?  Click on the link and read anyway, go on….

As the Glasgow quartet left the stage and the house lights came up more and more 35 to 50 year old men flooded into Ironworks.  At one point it looked like the night was sponsored by Fred Perry judging by the amount of classic polo shirts dotted amongst the odd parka and a scattering of old and new Shed Seven t-shirts.

For Shed Seven, this wasn’t a reunion tour or an outing based around nostalgia; they are back with a new album, Instant Pleasures which singer Rick Witter reminds us has peaked at number 6 in the album charts.  It’s not on my albums of the year list but it’s a big sound packed with that classic Shed Seven sound and swagger. They are also a hot ticket these days since reforming back in 2007 and their current U.K “Shedcember” tour is their biggest to date.

Perhaps they will be one of the handful of artists to have a dignified and creative return to the stage that is different to lucrative long drawn out farewell and reunion tours.  From the four or five songs I saw them perform it is clear they know exactly what their fans want and deliver it on point.

Bands aside, the highlight of the night for me was seeing and hearing two 40 something “lads” let’s call them, “Fred” and Perry” arms wrapped around each other passionately singing, fists punching and arms swaying to Morrissey’s “The Last Of The Famous International Playboys” as it played over the PA.  Word. For. Word.

For 3 minutes and 30 seconds they were back in their mid 20s with not a care in the world.

Shed Seven

There were some ladies here too. One who proudly told me she was wearing the exact same Shed Seven t-shirt she wore 20 years ago.  It looked like it had been lovingly cared for over two decades and only taken out for special occasions such as this. She was delighted to inform me it still fits too. And it did.

In 2017 Fred and Perry are probably spending more on a Shed Seven gig than they did in the 90s.  They also have a greater selection of merch’ to choose from including t-shirts for kids and toddlers – this is a band who know their fan base well.

As much as I am not a fan of all this “nostalgia” I have to say it is great if it removes people from their reality TV screens , their Facebook timeline and bringing people together.  There was a joy in the room; school pals together again and drinking buddies back at the bar for the first time in over a year.  There were moments where it was almost like the pre-Christmas mad Friday, and I only stayed for about 20 minutes.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.  This is not a pretentious indie blog that pours scorn over other musical tastes, not in public anyway.

What I find mystifying is that there doesn’t seem to be the same enthusiasm and passion for emerging new music.  If they were indeed at original Shed Seven gigs, buying the singles and buying the T-shirts, where are they now when hotly tipped emerging bands of today roll into town?  You know, the gigs where there are more band members than punters.  Or are they just happy to relive it all and think modern life is rubbish? Or is it just that people love a trip back to the glory days?

Then I spotted something positive.  There were a handful of “dad lads” here with their sons.  Maybe it was their first gig?  Embarrassing first gig some might say?  Not at all, there is no such thing.  The live gig experience and especially your first gig is like your first sexual experience.   It’s either amazing or terrible, but you will always remember it. The roar of the crowd, the energy, the sweat and  euphoria. It’s a rush of excitement that hooks you in.

Some of these kids will be here because it’s the music they brought up on but it’s a safe bet that the kids at tonight’s gig will in some way be inspired to head out on their own adventures to discover their own bands and fall in love with them so much so that in twenty years’ time they are booking tickets for their reunion tour. I really hope so.

For some I have no doubt this was the best gig they had been to in years.  For a couple of hours Shed Seven fans old (and new) immersed themselves in something they loved, something that transformed them and something that just felt fucking good.  For me I was more interested in getting home for a nice cup of tea and catching up on some emails and some new tracks I had been sent from bands that don’t even exist yet.

Nostalgia can imply that something is static or irrelevant but there was enough vibrant energy in the room tonight to make this relevant.

Weirdly however the song that is repeating in my head three days after the gig is the afore mentioned  “The Last Of The Famous International Playboys” by Morrissey.

Rock music was never meant to survive this long but bands grow old, and their fans do too.

All images © J.Macdonald/Netsounds.  Shed Seven/Foggy City Orphan | Ironworks | Inverness | 20th November 2017