Concert Review by Kris Griffiths
Brixton Academy, London – October 2001
This has been the third time I’ve seen the Sheds live in half a year. I first saw them at Shepherd’s Bush Empire back in April but couldn’t tell you much about it – all I can remember is interviewing Fraser two hours before the doors opened, Red Stripe lager, and then the band playing CHASING RAINBOWS and saying goodnight – I also remember it raining heavily on the long stagger home from the Bush. Four months later in Chelmsford Park everyone was enjoying the first day of V2001 but, of course, as soon as Shed Seven walked onto the stage it started bucketing down and people started buggering off.
However as October draws to a close it is a dry and fairly mild evening in South London. Funnily enough, I don’t quite have that feeling of pre-gig anticipation this time round as I sit sipping a beer in a Brixton pub. By the time I’ve strolled into the Academy The 45’s are just finishing their supporting set and their final tune is pretty damn good – all soaring harmonies and chugging guitars to which I raise my plastic pint glass. The one thing I love about this venue is the sloping spectator stand and the resulting superlative view from wherever you stand, even when it is jam-packed like it was when I last saw The Verve here a good couple of years ago. Tonight however, there is a lot more room to play around with, even in the area right in front of the stage which is where I end up comfortably standing.
Alan is the first to arrive onstage and proceeds to thwack forth the intro for DOLPHIN on the bongos waiting for him at his drum-kit. The rest of the band follow and swiftly have the crowd bouncing to this groovy little oldie. For the last couple of times I’ve seen them their opening choice of STEP INSIDE YOUR LOVE has been greeted with a sea of vacant stares, due to the general unfamiliarity with the poorly promoted TRUTH BE TOLD album. This time the band leave the new stuff until after a triumphant WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN TONIGHT? which follows the opener, and there is a noticeable upward movement. A lot more of the crowd react to CRY FOR HELP, FEATHERS and the new single, whilst LAUGHTER LINES sounds as beautiful live as it does on the album. And of course, no respectable Sheds gig would be complete without the MAXIMUM HIGH hits which go down as well as they always have done and always will do.
With the sight of a fairly crowded Brixton Academy before him, Rick seems to be a bit more excited than usual tonight and shows it by repeatedly smashing the microphone off the side of his head. Indeed, the whole band seem to be enjoying themselves more and are all smiles witnessing the crowd’s ecstatic reaction to the new set additions of DEVIL IN YOUR SHOES and an impromptu cover of David Bowie’s JEAN GENIE. The usual finale of CHASING RAINBOWS is as glorious as ever. People can slag off this band till the proverbial cows come home, but after consistent quality shows like this one, nobody, neither them or us, will ever really give a shit.