Shed Seven @ O2 Academy, Bristol
To be alive in the UK in the 90’s was fun. The second “love generation” knew how to party and weren’t afraid to embrace hedonism.
This after all was an era that produced the countries last generation of prototypical rock stars, before filters (be it Instagram or otherwise) and “followers” became the bottom line in fame. Free from the vanity and intrusion of social media and celebrity culture, the 90’s was a time of comparative naivety, when you could call your band Suede, or Menswear, and not be trolled off of YouTube.
(WF) The O2 Academy in Bristol is one of those venues you can expect to get great results from 90% of the time. Seeing as though it's a full blown, dedicated music venue. The acts that come through are of a high caliber - so you can expect a great show, with great light! When I shoot here, I usually do so with 2 camera bodies, one with a 24-70mm 2.8 and the other with a 70-200mm 2.8. This gives me a great focal length to play with in this venue, sometimes I'll pop a wide zoom on for one song (I have the 18-35mm) Being limited to 3 songs, as you are with most larger touring bands, means you need to act fairly quickly and considered. You're protected by the photopit and crowd barrier, so being pushed around by the crowd is one less distraction!
And tonight is a celebration of that unbound joy & enthusiasm, as two of Britpop’s iconic bands Shed Seven & Cast share the stage to remind us all of just how good we had it.
Following a well-received set from Cast the sell-out crowd are eager to keep the good times rolling and belt out every line as the 5-piece from York waltz through hits such as ‘Speakeasy’& ‘High Hopes’ as well as new tunes such as opener ‘Room in My House’ from their latest album Instant Pleasures. It’s an anthemic foot stomper that one can’t help be swept up by.
Always praised for their live shows they have lost none of their potency and lead singer Rick Witter’s affable and mischievous front man persona sits perfectly on top of the unassuming arpeggiated guitar of lead guitarist Paul Banks. Casually interacting with the crowd he picks out two of the younger members of the audience and has a short chat, dubbing them pair “the future of rock-n-roll”, much to the crowds delight and approval.
“Thanks for getting us in the charts” quips Witter’s, in what seems to be a sly nod to the now outdated concept of success being measured in charts and appearances on Top of the Pops.
Mod haircuts and parkas abound as the very finest in indie retro is on full show. The tops may be a bit tighter and the hair may be a bit thinner but the swagger is still there. In an encore that again dips into old (‘Getting Better’) and new (‘It’s Not Easy’) the sing-alongs reach an ear deafening level,with the
epic conclusion of classic ‘Chasing Rainbows’ leaving the crowd in a sweaty mess.