RICK WITTER & PAUL BANKS // FIBBERS, YORK

Shed Seven’s Rick Witter & Paul Banks play sold-out intimate show at York’s Fibbers

RICK WITTER & PAUL BANKS PERFORMING AT YORK’S FIBBERS - 25.01.2019
PICTURE BY: LAURA TOOMER @ToomerGigPhotography

★★★★★

Before we talk about the artists on show tonight at York’s Fibbers venue, I think it’s important to put some context into why we are here. I’m going to cheat a bit here and do a bit of copy and pasting from the IVW’s own website. Well who better to describe what this is all about than themselves
. “Independent Venue Week is a 7-day celebration of small music venues around the country and a nod to the people that own, run and work in them, week in, week out.

These venues give artists their first experience of playing live in front of an audience and for fans, somewhere to get up close to artists that one day, may well be playing stadiums and festival main stages.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England in the UK and also the wider music industry and brands globally, Independent Venue Week brings together these venues along with breaking and established artists, promoters, labels, media, bloggers and tastemakers to create a nationwide series of gigs.

These venues are the backbone of the live music scene in their country and Independent Venue Week wants to recognise all that they have done to create some of the most memorable nights of the past so they can continue to do the same in the future.”

So there you have it, and frankly this a brilliant concept that should be embraced by anyone who loves attending live music, without these small venues then any gigs whether it be York Arts Centre or Wembley stadium are unlikely to happen and we’d all miss out.

So onto a cold and windy Friday night in York, and in what was a stripped back acoustic version of their full blown selves were the mightily impressive Shed Seven. Or at least two of them in Paul Banks and Rick Witter who, being a local York band have been regular supporters of this venue and this fabulous cause for many years.

In keeping with the theme of showcasing local talent, York’s own Beth McCarthy was given the job of leading us into the main event. I can recall seeing her busking on the streets of the city on several occasions but it was perhaps her appearance on the Voice, coached by another Yorkshire stalwart in The Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson that she is best known for. To suggest she stole the show tonight would be perhaps stretching things a little far, however it is quite clear that she is becoming a genuine top class artist in her own right and at only 20 years old she is clearly destined for sort of career that proves the value of what IVW is trying to achieve. She looks the part, sounds the part and even writes her own songs, but despite all that talent for a young pop singer to warm up a crowd of largely 40 something indie music fans is still a challenge and it one she relished. Her voice is fantastic and this was really showcased by in keeping with the stripped back theme only being accompanied by a keyboard and herself on acoustic guitar. Treating us to ‘Shame’ and ‘Crazy for You’ both released as singles she oozed class and confidence with her raspy vocals giving her voice a real edge. She has her own headline slot at this venue on the 8th March and I am already checking my diary to see if I can fit it in, I would too if I were you.

So from a new up and coming talent to the old heads that everyone was here to see. Rick and Paul taking to the stage to the sort of reception that greets a last minute winning goal at Anfield or Old Trafford. Shed Seven are maybe not the household names of the likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses or even Coldplay but I have seen them all live and I can tell you that when you put them on stage and in front of a live audience they are right up there with any of them. Opening with ‘Room in My House’ from their latest album, Instant Pleasures released in late 2017 to coincide with the Shedcember tour of that year they blasted out high quality tune after high quality tune. It was an acoustic gig but in reality they could have had full orchestra and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the quality and energy of the show they put on. It’s unfair to call the fans a cult following, they are bigger than that but they do create a fervour and reaction form their fans that you don’t see at many gigs such is their popularity.

There were times when this did feel more like a football match than a gig with every single song belted back at the band by an almost hysterical crowd that filled the venue to capacity and was frankly creaking at the seams. It helps that many of the songs take on anthem status and often you really need to hear them live to appreciate their full quality. ‘Where have you been tonight’ flowed into ‘High Hopes’, we then took the pipe to ‘Victoria’ from the latest album and got off at ‘Ocean Pie’ taken from the band’s debut album ‘Change Giver’ released way back in 1994 (yes I am that old). Music old and new all equally well received and thoroughly enjoyed brought to close in the now traditional way with ‘Rainbows’. Rick is great at getting audiences involved and the interaction is always genuine and warm, tonight was no different and there were several forays into the crowd to reward them for the constant singalongs. I also have to give the paying public a special mention, like me most of the people in here are of a ‘certain’ age so well done to all of us for having the energy to keep that level of excitement up for the entire gig. A big shout out to everyone there!

So as music fans, lets embrace our local music venues, lets support them and get out to watch these acts whether they are established acts like Shed Seven giving something back, or newcomers like Beth McCarthy making her way and creating waves. If she ever gets to fulfil Paul Banks dream of walking out to say ‘Hello Wembley’, remember you saw her here first.

Oh and Rick, you promised us some new material this year, like all sheds fans I can’t wait!

REVIEW BY: ROGER MCGIVERN
PHOTOS BY: LAURA TOOMER @ToomerGigPhotography

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