Gayle Ritchie was blown away when Britpop legends Shed Seven played Fat Sam’s, Dundee, on November 22.
After being deprived of live music for way too long, there was huge excitement – and a sense of the surreal – at the prospect of heading to an actual gig. A Shed Seven gig at Fat Sam’s on a Monday night, no less.
The band were opening their greatest hits tour with an intimate gig at the Dundee club and while smaller than all the other venues (bar The Ironworks in Inverness on Tuesday), it was a full show, to help them “get back into the groove” after Covid.
My friend and I turned up mega early to watch support act Shambolics, a dreamy rock n’ roll five-piece from Kirkcaldy.
Already hailed by mentor Alan McGee as “one of the great Scottish bands”, the lads quickly got folk onto the dancefloor with their incendiary track Sharp as a Razor and rolling stream of indie-rock anthems.
They weren’t shy of plugging themselves either, telling folk they’re playing Glasgow’s SWG3 in January and saying – “come and check us out!”
As 8.30pm approached, the venue started to fill up quickly. Jumpers and jackets were discarded as the unfamiliar heat of hundreds of bodies mingled together. Was anyone worried about Covid? Probably, but most folk were far too excited to let it bother them.
When, at last, effortlessly cool frontman Rick Witter strolled onto the stage in skin-tight jeans and black top, the claps and cheers were deafening.
“I’m 49 tomorrow,” he announced. “Let’s make this the best Monday night this year has seen. It’s great to be back out playing gigs. We’ve got some songs to play that you might know.”
Before the 90s favourites fully launched into their set, a man near the stage started baying for them to play their 1994 hit, Ocean Pie.
“No, no yet!” said Rick. “There’s at least six or seven songs before that but don’t F off and come back just for that song!”
It was the first time the band had played live with its new line-up following the departure of two of its founding members – drummer Alan Leach, and guitar and keyboard player Joe Johnson
Monday’s gig was a chance for the new guys to bed in, and Maxi (drums) and Tim Wills (keyboard and guitar) did so seamlessly.
Let’s make this the best Monday night this year has seen!”
Rick enjoyed plenty of banter with fans, chatting to a couple who’d flown up from Bristol and a group of 16-year-olds. “I hear you fancy my son!” he teased one girl. “Maybe I could put in a word for you?”
As promised, there was a mix of 90s hits and newer tunes, with the song Victoria from the band’s 2017 album Instant Pleasures played live for the first time.
The 90s anthems She Left Me on Friday, Devil in Your Shoes and Where Have You Been Tonight? really upped the ante, as did the introduction of a brilliant three-piece brass section.
And then it was time for the stunning 1994 tune Ocean Pie. Just wow. I love this song so much. I tried hard not to let tears of emotion fall but it was tough.
Other highlights included On Standby, Going for Gold, a cover of Suspicious Minds, and before they headed off the stage, they played the seriously uplifting Getting Better.
Of course, nobody believed for a second that that the night was over. Absolutely no way!
Sure enough, a few minutes later, the band came back on and played two of their bangers – Disco Down (utterly epic) and the finale, Chasing Rainbows (totally awesome).
The buzz in the room was completely electrifying, with fans singing along to every single word.
The gig was my first since Alice Cooper graced the stages of P&J Live in October 2019. Both were brilliant; how could you ever compare them?
But thank you Shed Seven for bringing one of the best nights ever to Dundee. You were totally on fire.
The gig certainly cheered up a miserable Monday evening at the tail end of November and that’s exactly what we all needed.