This piece comes from a Facebook post that should have been a short paragraph about the album on rotation on my turntable, but instead turned into a bit more. Looking beyond the lockdown horizon, it attempts to bring the future into optomistic focus by looking backwards to those halcyon days when most of us knew nothing of Covud-19 or to mention it, Covids 1-18. Here’s the transcript of the resultant FB post.
I’ve been actively avoiding getting involved in the medically/racially/politically driven posting frenzy of the past few months. Mainly because there are already too many “experts” out there. I’ll just say that my FB timeline is much quieter than it used to be, as a number of FB friends have been temporarily blocked (unfriended in some extreme cases). Hopefully this will allow bridges to be built on the other side of all this madness.
I’ve been particlarly quiet for the last few weeks. A situation forced on me through an out of the blue, but ongoing illness situation which had me anchored to the big couch during that time, much to my dog, Barclay’s disgust as bed time approached and I was lying on his.
I won’t be going into detail here, except to say it’s been confirmed that it wasn’t Covid related but by feck it was the worst pain I’ve experienced in my adult life. Suffice to say I knew things were bad when I started getting sympathy from Lorna and the two young adults in the house who could be found on occasion sitting down next to me, watching telly and telling me about their days.💙💙💙💙✌
Anyway, contrary to the thinking offered by 90s indie music icon/god, Richard Ashcroft, the drugs DO work, or at least have been since about 6 o’clock pm yesterday.
So, I’m back and my desire to inflict my musical tastes and ideologies on you, my FB friends, is also back. Supercharged by a cocktail of medication and 3 weeks of nothing to do but think, this could get verbose, if it hasn’t already. 😜
Okay. Time for some tunage.
Today’s opener comes from a group known for their guitar based nineties pop. Haling from the city of York, home of the matriarchal arm of my dad’s parentage, Shed 7 had a plethora of indie dancefloor fillers from their first 4 studio albums released between 1994 and 2001, before the band split in 2003. Concidentally the same year the digital revolution started and album based bands of the recent past found it hard to make any headway as the music industry and the music buying public were succumbed by the ” twelvety precious things” on offer in the new local shop….I-tunes.
Following a 4 year hiatus, the band reformed, performing sporadic “nostalgia” tours with the highlights being the “Shedcember” dates.
These gigs were famously raucous affairs with lots of sweating mosh pit action to classics like Chasing Rainbows, Going For Gold and Disco Down. The success and buzz of touring the old tunes had got the band’s writing fluids flowing again and in February 2017 they announced their biggest tour ever, accompanied by their first album release in 16 years.
Rick Witter was quoted at the time as saying “We’ve spent the last couple of years writing and demo-ing secretly and have more than an album’s worth of material that we can’t wait to share with you. We feel now is the right time. We’re looking forward to ‘Shedcember’ where it will be business as usual, you’ll get to hear all the songs you rightly should expect to hear but this time with a light sprinkling of new music to top it all off. Thanks for all the support over the years, we’re really excited about this new chapter for Shed Seven and hope you’ll continue to be part of the journey with us, and trust me, this album will be well worth the wait.”
In the intervening 8 month period, the band strengthened their bond with their fanbase, releasing links to interviews, videos and previews of early mixes as well as the odd live performance from the band members homes.
Fan funded via the “pledge music” platform, the new album was released on the 10th November 2017. Unfortunately our much anticipated live experience of hearing the new tunes at the scheduled Shedvember gig at The Liquid Rooms was not to be as Rick fell foul of a throat infection. The result was a delayed date of February 2018.
On the night, The Liquid Rooms were rammed and the atmosphere was electric. The new songs fitted in just fine with the classics and the songalongs filled the space above our heads. The dancing was vigorous and the persperation was profuse. Oh to be back in that room without the social distancing we are now subjected to for the good of humanity.
I didn’t pick this album as my first today for any particular reason, but in writing these words I have uncovered a depth of emotions and recalled pleasures, unlocked by the vibrations that were translated from the pressed black vinyl, into low level electrical currents via the stylus pick up, before being amplified and transmitted into the ether via the speaker cones, to then be assimilated in my brain into the key that unlocked those memories.
Music is the key.
Live music is key.
When this is all over, I’ll be down the front with whoever’s up for it.
See you there.
And in the meantime,
Keep On Keepin’ On Folks.
SHED 7 : INSTANT PLEASURES : 2017