SUGABABES will complete Futuresounds’ debut line-up for Live At York Museum Gardens in their second outdoor appearance in the city.
The London girl band’s original line-up of Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy will perform on Sunday, July 21, following up their July 23 performance at the York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend two summers ago.
They join London singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti on July 18 and chart-topping York titans Shed Seven on July 19 and 20 (both sold out) in the four-night run.
Futuresound Group’s Rachel Hill says: “We are thrilled to finally announce the completed line-up for our first year in the beautiful Museum Gardens with the incredible Sugababes.
“It’s so exciting to have some genuine icons join us while being able to showcase some of York’s brilliant local artists. With such an eclectic line-up, this will really offer the residents of York a weekend of live music to remember.”
Formed in 1998, Sugababes have topped the singles charts with Freak Like Me (2001), Round Round (2022), Hole In The Head (2003), Push The Button (2005), Walk This Way (with Girls Aloud, 2006) and About You Now (2007), while 2005’s Taller In More Ways and 2007’s Change hit the album chart peak too.
Top ten hits came their way with Overload (2000), Angels With Dirty Faces (2002), Too Lost In You (2003), In The Middle (2004), Caught In A Moment (2004), Ugly (2005), Red Dress (2005), Easy (2006), Girls (2008), Get Sexy (2009), About A Girl (2009) and Wear My Kiss (2010).
The Sugababes line-up changed three times – Heidi Range, Amelle Berrabah and Jade Ewen joining at various points – before Buena, Buchanan and Donaghy reunited in 2011.
Live At York Museum Gardens is Yorkshire promoters Futuresound’s latest addition to a portfolio that has embraced Live At Leeds, Slum Dunk Festival and Ed Sheeran’s August 16 and 17 2019 performances at Roundhay Park, Leeds.
Futuresounds will present Madness on their C’est La Vie itinerary at Kirkstall Abbey, Kirkstall, Leeds, on July 26, supported by The Zutons. What a Yorkshire panoply of outdoor concerts is in prospect that night when Kaiser Chiefs will play York Racecourse and James will return to Scarborough Open Air Theatre.
Tickets: Madness, https://futuresound.seetickets.com/event/madness/kirkstall-abbey/2835070; Kaiser Chiefs, yorkracecourse.co.uk; James, scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
SHED Seven release anthemic slow burner Let’s Go Dancing today as the latest single from their chart-topping sixth studio album A Matter Of Time.
Already a fan favourite from the York band’s recent sold-out shows, the song is a plea for one final chance when all appears to be lost, a message of hope at a time when the odds seem stacked against you.
“Dancing, depending on the style of course, can be personal or indeed involve multiple people,” says lyricist and singer Rick Witter. “It may include a certain amount of close contact and can create unforgettable moments.
“It can be filled with romance or alternatively it could be an opportunity to let your hair down and get loose. In this day and age, where we are potentially only six feet away from some kind of hatred and negativity, it’s a way of reminding ourselves there is love in the world. I can hear music and I can see lights, so let’s go dancing…”
Let’s Go Dancing is accompanied by a video animated by Nicolás Morera, of Digifish, and directed by Paul Banks, Shed Seven guitarist, erstwhile art college student and creative director of Digifish, the York and Manchester music video production company. To view, head to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUDzUx31iDE
From March 1, the single is available from https://store.shedseven.com/ in a limited-edition run of 500 7” red vinyl copies, each signed individually by the band and hand numbered. The B-side will be a demo of Let’s Go Dancing.
The Sheds’ 30th anniversary kicked off with A Matter Of Time becoming their first ever number one in the UK Official Albums Chart. This summer’s celebratory outdoor concerts at York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20 sold out almost instantly, bolstered by the intriguing prospect of support slots by special guest Peter Doherty, from The Libertines, after his vocal collaboration with Witter on A Matter Of Time’s closing track, Throwaways.
Also in the diary is the Sheds’ appearance at Blossoms’ 30,000-capacity Big Bank Holiday Weekend at Wythenshawe Park and Gardens, Wythenshawe, Manchester, on August 25. A Shedcember winter tour will be upcoming too.
London-born acoustic singer-songwriter Savoretti, 40, has released seven studio albums and one compilation, Songs From Different Times, since 2007.
Savoretti, whose exotic full name is Giovanni Edgar Charles Galletto-Savoretti, previously played York in an intimate gig at Fibbers on July 16 2017, when promoter Mr H, alias legendary York club boss Tim Hornsby, enthused: “He’s a class act, a modern-day troubadour, a thrilling performer, a giant.
“Our hero may have started as a lonely acoustic troubadour, relying on not much more than his songs and that careworn growl, but we’re now witnessing a gorgeous widescreen sweep, drawing on a rich Italian heritage, with Morricone-like flourishes and battlefield last stands.”
Such sentiments still stand, rubber-stamped by the chart accolade of Savoretti hitting number one with his past two studio albums, March 2019’s Singing To Strangers, recorded at Ennio Morricone’s studio in Rome, and June 2021’s Europiana, conceived in lockdowns at Jack’s Oxfordshire home. A deluxe edition, Europiana Encore, followed in 2022.
In an Instagram post last November, Savoretti revealed he was “in the studio, where we are putting the final touches to the new album”.
The title and release date details are yet to be announced but CharlesHutchPress’s early request for an interview elicited this response from Chelsea Bakewell, marketing manager for concert promoters Futuresound: “Jack’s team mentioned they are pausing on interview until the album is out so this isn’t something which can be facilitated at this moment in time I’m afraid.” Watch this space!
Northern Irish storytelling bluesman, survivor, rocker and folk hero Foy Vance, 49, will be returning to York for the first time since headlining York Barbican on his Signs Of Life tour in August 2022.
Now living in Tottenham, London, York singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich, 34, will release his fifth studio album, Some Things Break, next Friday on Dirty Hit Records, his regular home since becoming the label’s first signing at the age of 21 in 2011.
Composed over the past two years at locations across the globe, from London to Nashville, Washington to Stockholm, Some Things Break was produced by Grammy Award-winning Jimmy Hogarth and features collaborations with fellow songwriters Mikky Ekko, Jamie Squire and Jon Green.
The track listing will be: I’m Always Saying Sorry; Moon Landing Hoax; Break In The Weather; New York; Some Things Break; Spokane, Washington; God’s Best; A Love Like That; Only You and Don’t Give Up on The Light.
“Learning to hold onto certain things and let go of others, with as much grace as possible, I feel like I’m hiding less on this record,” says Leftwich. “Ultimately, I think it’s a record about a kind of slow acceptance that some things break and, for me, sometimes that’s necessary for healing.”
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Leftwich will open his eight-date spring tour at Leeds Brudenell Social Club on April 4, where he will be accompanied by The 1975’s Jamie Squire on piano. For tickets, head to: www.benjaminfrancisleftwich.com
Leftwich has played myriad concerts in York over the past 15 years, none more contrasting than an exclusive, intimate album launch gig for Gratitude at the 50-capacity FortyFive Vinyl Café, Micklegate, on March 15 2019, followed only a fortnight later by York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.
Savoretti’s concert will be part of a four-night run of Futuresound promotions at York Museum Gardens. York’s revitalised Britpop survivors, Shed Seven, will ride in on a crest of a wave for sold-out 30th anniversary gigs on July 19 and 20, with The Libertines’ Peter Doherty in support, after topping the album charts for the first time with A Matter Of Time on January 12.
SHED Seven have become the first York band to top the album charts, 30 years since their Change Giver debut surfed in on the crest of the Britpop wave.
A Matter Of Time, released last Friday on their new home of Cooking Vinyl, has hit the chart peak after a concerted campaign that began last autumn with pre-sale packages and has continued with myriad versions of the album on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital download packages, accompanied by an on-going ten-venue tour of record stores for meet & greet and signing sessions and stripped-back performances.
Outselling Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift over the past seven days, the Sheds celebrated the success of their sixth studio album by posting on X (Twitter) in the past hour: “We’ve waited 30 years for this announcement, but the stars have finally aligned, and we’re thrilled to announce that our album ‘A Matter Of Time’ is number one on the official UK album charts!”
The Sheds have secured their place in offical UK chart history by becoming the British rock group with the longest gap between their debut release and first number one album: a total of 29 years and three months from September 5 1994’s Change Giver to January 5 2024’s A Matter Of Time.
Shed Seven notched 15 Top 40 hits between 1994 and 2003, while their albums A Maximum High (1996), Let It Ride (1998), Going For Gold: The Greatest Hits (1999) and Instant Pleasures (2017) all made the Top Ten.
A Matter Of Time, the Sheds’ first studio release in six years, also was the best-selling album of the week in British independent record shops.
YORK band Shed Seven are on the cusp of hitting the maximum high after 30 years of chasing rainbows. New album A Matter Of Time is standing proud at number one in the midweek chart.
Their sixth studio album and first for their new home of Cooking Vinyl is on course to see the Britpop alumni become the first York group to top the UK album chart, giving them the perfect start to their 30th anniversary celebrations. Come Friday afternoon, all will be revealed.
Earlier today, the Sheds posted on Facebook: “We’re over the moon to confirm that A Matter Of Time is #1 in the midweek album chart!! Thank you all SO MUCH for buying the album and getting us to this amazing position.
“It’s not a done deal yet as we’re against the usual major label artists, so now more than ever, if you can buy a copy or download the album, it makes a huge difference to our chart position. Unfortunately streaming doesn’t make a big difference. https://shedsevenn.lnk.to/AMOT”
“We’d also be the first ever artist from YORK to get a #1 album, so let’s bring it home!!!!” they added.
That claim is not strictly true, however: All of 60 years ago, York-born composer John Barry wrote the score for the James Bond film Goldfinger, whose soundtrack album topped both the British and American charts, knocking The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night off its perch in July 1964.
The promotional campaign has caught fire from the pre-sale start last autumn. All test pressings? Sold out. Limited-edition Blood Records vinyl edition? Sold out. Live edition of the album? Sold out.
Album release shows at Pryzm, Kingston upon Thames, on January 25, HMV Empire, Coventry, on January 26 and Project House, Armley Road, Leeds, on January 27 – the only times the Sheds will play A Matter Of Time in its entirety, coupled with a greatest hits set – all sold out too.
Timed to coincide with the album’s release last Friday, a ten-day record store tour began with meet & greet and signing appearances at HMV York, in Coney Street, and earlier that day at The Vinyl Whistle, in Headingley, Leeds, where the Sheds performed in stripped-back mode.
The tour takes vocalist Rick Witter, guitarist Paul Banks, bassist Tom Gladwin and 2022 recruits Tim Wills, keyboards, and Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield, drums, to London, Southampton, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and back to London.
At the weekend, Witter and Gladwin joined hosts Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer in Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch studio, “chatting and cooking on gas”, followed later by a full band performance at the end of the show. “It will be the talk of the town!” they promised beforehand, in a reference to one of the album tracks.
Time matters, but it is not too late to support Shed Seven’s quest for the number one spot. A Matter Of Time is available to buy at shedsevenn.lnk.to/AMOTPR, with a range of album bundles and a new Going For Gold coloured vinyl LP format, exclusive to Banquet Records and limited to 300 copies.
Standing on the edge of achieving a new peak, the Sheds have returned to their roots with a deluxe digital download format that combines A Matter Of Time with Changed Giver, a stripped-back unplugged re-make of their 1994 debut album, Change Giver, recorded at Reel Studios in Elvington.
While Shed Seven have been a mainstay on the album charts over the past 30 years, their highest-charting record to date is 1999’s Going For Gold. That greatest hits collection peaked at number seven although 1996’s A Maximum High, 1998’s Let It Ride and 2017’s Instant Pleasures all made the Top Ten.
This summer, the Sheds will mark their 30th anniversary by playing two homecoming shows in York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20 that sold out rapidly. Their special guest will be Peter Doherty, who contributes harmonies to the new album’s closing song, Throwaways.
Sheds’ vocalist Rick Witter enthuses: “Can you believe that after 30 years in the business, this album will be our highest-charting entry? We are also within reach of potentially getting our first number one album – we’d be the first band from York to reach the top! Thank you for all the support over the years and for A Matter Of Time. It’s genuinely appreciated. We have lots more planned throughout the year.”
Confirmed already is Shed Seven’s appearance at Blossoms’ Big Bank Holiday Weekend at Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, on August 25.
Expect more anniversary celebrations to be announced soon.
WHAT lies ahead in the New Year? Charles Hutchinson picks his path through highlights across the city’s venues.
It’s only A Matter Of Time before: Shed Seven release their new album
YORK band Shed Seven will mark the January 5 release of their sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, on new home Cooking Vinyl with a meet & greet/signing session that day at HMV, in Coney Street, York, at 4.30pm (tickets: shedsevenn.lnk.to/instores). Their midday appearance and stripped-back performance on the same day at Vinyl Whistle, in Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, has sold out.
In the summertime, when the weather is hopefully fine, The Sheds will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a brace of outdoor concerts in York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20, supported by Peter Doherty, no less. Both have sold out already. Box office: seetickets.com.
It’s Curtains for…Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 7 to 10, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
WHEN the leading lady of a new musical mysteriously dies on stage, a plucky local detective must solve this 1959 case at Boston’s Colonial Theatre, where the entire cast and crew are suspects in Kander & Ebb’s musical with a book by Rupert Holmes. Cue delightful characters, a witty and charming script and glorious tunes in the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s staging of Curtains. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Beta times ahead: Brudenell Presents Steve Mason, The Crescent, York, January 30, 7.30pm
SCOTTISH indie songwriter Steve Mason, founder of The Beta Band, returns to The Crescent as part of Independent Venue Week. Combining a rare melodic gift with an itch to experiment, as heard on his 2023 album Brothers & Sisters, he investigates where the boundaries lie between the craft of songwriting, technology and free expression.
Taking part in Independent Venue Week too will be Leeds band English Teacher, whose January 28 night of dreamy pop and post-punk noise has sold out already. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Dinosaurs take over York: Jurassic Live 2024 World Tour, York Barbican, February 16, 5pm; February 17, 11am and 3pm; February 18, 1pm
LIFE-SIZED monstrous beasts roar into York in an interactive all-star theatrical spectacular featuring the world’s only Tylosaurus in a giant tank (new for 2024), the last flying Pterodactyl, a Tyrannosaurus Rex called Suzie and more dinosaur species than any other show on Earth.
Join little Amber, Ranger Joe, Ranger Nora and the rest of the Jurassic Live rangers on a musical journey to help save the day from an evil man who is trying to shut down the Jurassic facility. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Most anticipated touring musical: Pretty Woman: The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, February 20 to 24, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday
BILLED as “Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com, live on stage”, Pretty Woman: The Musical is set once upon a time in the late 1980s, when Vivian (Amber Davies) meets Edward (Oliver Savile) and her life is changed forever.
Strictly champ Ore Oduba’s Happy Man/Mr Thompson and Natalie Paris’s Kit De Luca will be in the cast too for a musical featuring original music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter, J.F. Lawton. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
World premiere of the season: Emma Rice’s Wise Children in Blue Beard, York Theatre Royal, February 27 to March 9, 7.30pm and 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees
BLUE Beard will be Wise Children’s fourth visit to York after Wise Children, Malory Towers and Wuthering Heights, this time in a co-production between Emma Rice’s Bristol company, York Theatre Royal, Birmingham Rep, HOME Manchester and the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh.
Rice brings her brand of theatrical wonder to the beguiling and disturbing folk tale of Bluebeard meeting his match when his young bride discovers his dark and murderous secret. Summoning all her rage, all her smarts and all her sisters, she vows to bring the curtain down on his tyrannous reign. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Welcome home: Rob Auton, The Rob Auton Show, Burning Duck Comedy Club, The Crescent, York, February 28, 7.30pm
AFTER nine Edinburgh Fringe shows on themes as diverse as the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, talking, time and crowds, York writer, comedian, artist and actor Rob Auton delivers his most autobiographical work, exploring the memories and feelings that create his life on a daily basis. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Comedy comeback : Rhod Gilbert & The Giant Grapefruit, York Barbican, June 20, 8pm
IN his last show, The Book Of John, firebrand Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert dealt with “some pretty pungent life citrus” and an idiot called John. Little did he know that things were about to turn even more sour.
Gilbert, 55, required surgery for metastatic cancer of the head and neck as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, receiving his first clear cancer scan in October after undergoing treatment.
“Not bitter, he’s bouncing back and feeling remarkably zesty”, returning with a dark, passionate and way-too-personal tour show that squeezes every last drop out of life’s latest curveballs…with a little help from an old adversary. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Even further ahead:Jason Donovan, Doin’ Fine 25 Tour, York Barbican, March 8 2025, 8pm
IF 2023 was the year of Kylie, all that attention on Tension, Padam Padam and ITV’s An Audience With, then 2025, yes 2025, promises a York date with her Neighbours beau, Jason Donovan, in celebration of his “incredible ride” through 35 years in music, theatre, film and television.
His long-awaited sequel to Doin’ Fine 90 will feature Jason’s most beloved songs from his stage shows, nods to his TV times in Neighbours and Strictly Come Dancing and his biggest pop hits. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
In Focus: York Actors Collective in Beyond Caring, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, cleaning up from February 6 to 10
YORK Actors Collective follows March 2023’s debut production of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloanewith Beyond Caring, a play that highlights the social damage inflicted by zero hours contracts.
Devised by Alexander Zeldin and the original Yard Theatre cast in East London in 2014, later transferring to the National Theatre, the story of agency cleaners at a meat factory will be directed in York by Angie Millard, working with a cast of Victoria Delaney, Clare Halliday, Mick Liversidge, Chris Pomfrett and Neil Vincent.
Over 90 unbroken minutes, Beyond Caring follows two women, Becky and Grace, and one man, Sam (replacing Sarah from past productions in a directorial decision), as they confront the reality of low wage, zero-hour contract employment, never sure of how many hours they have to work, when they will be paid and whether their ‘job’ will continue.
Director Angie Millard says: “This play is remarkable in its structure and power. It totally represents 2024 where many workers are on the breadline, trapped in employment with no guarantee of further work and no way to improve their position.
“What drew me to the play, however, is the message it conveys about people surviving and keeping a sense of humour. I loved the intensity of the piece with its silences, its disappointments and its determination to get pleasure out of the smallest things. It gave me hope.”
Stage managed by Em Peattie, Millard’s production will play nightly at 7.30pm, Tuesday to Friday, followed by Saturday shows at 2.30 and 5.30pm. “Ticket sales for our first production indicated that a Saturday matinee was very popular,” says Angie.
“We thought that having two early Saturday performances would give the audience an opportunity to see the show and still have time to go for a drink or meal afterwards, making a night of it.” Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
SHED Seven will mark their 30th anniversary next year with a brace of “extraordinary” outdoor concerts in York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20. Tickets go on sale on Friday (3/11/2023) at 9am at seetickets.com.
“It’s been a long time coming, and now we can finally announce two special homecoming shows,” says the York band’s website.
“We’re already planning something truly extraordinary for these shows, so you can expect special guests and grand ideas galore. It’s going to be a jubilant celebration of the last 30 years of Shed Seven and a performance like nothing we’ve done before.”
The announcement continues: “We’re thrilled to be joined by special guests Peter Doherty, The Lottery Winners, Brooke Combe, Serotones and Apollo Junction throughout the weekend.”
Doherty recorded a guest vocal for Throwaways, the closing track of Shed Seven’s upcoming sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, when his band, The Libertines, were at work on new recordings in their Margate studio.
Throwaways is an anything-but-throwaway duet with Sheds’ singer Rick Witter. “We played Bingley Festival a couple of summers ago when The Libertines were headlining the main stage, and as we played, there was Peter at the side of the stage, singing along to all our songs,” recalls Rick.
“When I met him afterwards, he said he used to sit on his bed learning our guitar parts, so I said, ‘would you sing on our new album?’.
“We sent Peter the song Throwaways and he did some harmonising and ad-libbing. It’s a song about outsiders. We’ve always been outsiders, and The Libertines have that about them too.”
A Matter Of Time will be released on Shed Seven’s new label, Cooking Vinyl, on January 5 2024 and can be pre-ordered from shedseven.com.
This will be the first Sheds’ album to feature new members Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield, from Audioweb, on drums and Ian Brown band member Tim Willis on keys, along with Witter, guitarist Paul Banks and bass player Tom Gladwin, band stalwarts from the Britpop era.
Did you know?
SUPPORT act Serotones feature Rick Witter’s son, Duke, on vocals, alongside original Sheds’ drummer Alan Leach’s son, Sonny, on guitar.
Did you know too?
SHED Seven’s Museum Gardens shows will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut single for Polydor Records, the double A-side Mark and Casino Girl (March 7 1994), and debut album Change Giver (September 5 2024), rather than the 30th anniversary of the year they formed in York (1990).
SHED Seven release their fourth single off upcoming album A Matter Of Time this week as their autumn tour rolls on with a climactic week of sold-out shows.
Starlings joins Kissing California, F:K:H and In Ecstasy – featuring Happy Mondays’ backing singer Rowetta – in previewing the York band’s January 5 2024 sixth studio set on their new home of Cooking Vinyl.
Building up melancholic layers of piano, strings, dramatic beats and swooping vocal harmonies into a slow-burning finale, frontman Rick Witter’s lyrics offer the hope that perhaps not all goodbyes are forever [as proven by the Sheds’ return to the concert platform in 2007 after splitting in 2003!].
“Starlings showcases the album with a different kind of emotion,” says Rick. “It’s a love letter to a departed partner. I had an idea about a couple who have been together since forever, only for one of them to pass away, and the remaining partner is basically treading water until the time comes where they can be reunited for eternity in the ether.
“Some may say it’s dark subject matter, but I find it also pretty uplifting and is more of a common thing than one might think. The beautiful strings and piano add everything that is needed for such a heartfelt song. It’s nostalgic and reflective but has a feeling of evermore too.”
Yorkshire is missing out on the Sheds’ eight-date “Shoctober” autumn itinerary – originally timed to coincide with a September release date for the album that was subsequently put back – but they did play a 6,000-capacity Sounds Of The City 2023 gig at Millennium Square, Leeds, in July that sold out in a day.
What’s more, hush-hush plans are being made for celebrations of their 30th anniversary in 2024 in home city York. Watch this space; announcements are expected very soon.
Before then, the Sheds will embark on a run of in-store appearances next January to promote A Matter Of Time with a mix of intimate, stripped-back performances and meet-and-greet/signing sessions. Such has been the ticket demand that the schedule has expanded to encompass 16 sessions in ten days.
Among them will be Vinyl Whistle, in Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds on January 5 at 12 noon (sold out) and the HMV store, in Coney Street, York, on January 5 at 4.30pm (tickets: shedsevenn.lnk.to/instores).
Three special album launch shows for A Matter Of Time sold out in a matter of minutes in Kingston upon Thames (January 25), Coventry (January 26) and closest to home, Project House, in Armley Road, Leeds, hosted by Crash Records on January 27. Each will feature two sets: A Matter Of Time, played in its entirety for the first and only time (well, three times), followed the Sheds’ greatest hits.
Meanwhile, album pre-orders have seen all test pressings and all copies of Blood Records’ hand-numbered vinyl rapidly sell out already.
The usual Shed three of Witter, guitarist Paul Banks and bassist Tom Gladwin recorded the album in Spain with new recruits Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield, from Audioweb, on drums and Ian Brown band member Tim Willis on keys, replacing founder members Joe Johnson and Alan Leach, who left after the 2021 summer festival season.
As with November’s 2017’s Instant Pleasures, the sessions were produced by Youth – famed for his work with Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, The Orb and The Verve – at his residential El Mirador Studios in Andalucia, southern Spain.
Maxfield and Willis had first joined for the Sheds’ rearranged “Covid tour” dates in 2021, whipping 20 songs into shape at ten weeks’ notice. “They’re amazing, very professional musicians, who’ve brought a new kind of vibe to the band, but it’s still very much Shed Seven, with the spirit of the band rising high,” says Rick.
“It’s given us a kick up the backside, and that’s proven by me and Paul beginning to write the album seriously in March 2022 and finishing the songs by December, the quickest since we wrote A Maximum High in 1995. We must have hit a rich purple patch; pretty much everything that came out of us was good.”
For A Matter Of Time, the Sheds reconnected with the classic albums that first inspired them to form a band in York in 1990: The Smiths, R.E.M., U2, Simple Minds, The Cure, even Duran Duran.
As Paul Banks puts it, the songs are a heartfelt homage to those cherished times, while embodying the essence of rebirth, leading to three titles out of 12 featuring “Let’s Go”.
“This record is Shed Seven but with a new edge,” says Rick. “This is more the next rung on the ladder after Instant Pleasures. It just feels better and more grown up.”
Listen out for special guest contributions, not only from Happy Mondays back singer Rowetta’s fervent gospel vocals on In Ecstasy and Reverend And The Makers’ Laura McClure on the folk-pop Tripping With You, but also The Libertines’ Peter Doherty duetting with Witter on the dramatic closer Throwaways.
“We played Bingley Festival a couple of summers ago when The Libertines were headlining the main stage, and as we played, there was Peter at the side of the stage, singing along to all our songs,” recalls Rick.
“When I met him afterwards, he said he used to sit on his bed learning our guitar parts, so I said, ‘would you sing on our new album?’.”
Doherty duly recorded his vocals for Throwaways remotely at Margate. “He did some harmonising and ad-libbing,” says Rick. “It’s a song about outsiders. We’ve always been outsiders, and The Libertines have that about them too.”
A Matter Of Time can be pre-ordered or pre-saved at https://shedsevenn.lnk.to/AMOTPR.
IN this special edition, Two Big Egos In A Small Car podcast duo Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson interview Rick Witter, frontman of Shed Seven.
As the Sheds head out on an autumn tour, Rick discusses the story behind the York band’s new studio album, next January’s A Matter Of Time, early band names for Witter and Paul Banks in their schooldays, fresh band members, and what it takes to be among the great survivors of Britpop.
GOING for gold, whether with the Sheds or down at the maze, Charles Hutchinson heads outdoors but is drawn back indoors too.
Outdoor gig of the weekend: Shed Seven, Sounds In The City 2023, Millennium Square, Leeds, today, from 6pm
FRESH from announcing next January’s release of their sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, York’s Shed Seven head to Leeds city centre for a sold-out, 6,00-capacity Millennium Square show.
Performing alongside regular vocalist Rick Witter, guitarist Paul Banks and bassist Tom Gladwin will be Tim Willis on keyboards and Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield on drums. Support slots go to fellow Britpop veterans Cast and rising York band Skylights.
Opening of the weekend: York Maze, Elvington Lane, Elvington, near York, today until September 4
THE Cobsleigh Run race and Crowmania ride are among the new attractions when York Maze opens for its 21st season today with a new show marquee too – and the giant image of Tutankhamun cut by farmer Tom Pearcy into a 15-acre field of maize.
Created from one million living, growing maize plants, Britain’s largest maze has more than 20 rides, attractions and shows for a fun-filled family day out. Where else would you find a Corntroller of Entertainment, corny pun intended? Step forward Josh Benson, York magician, pantomime star and, yes, corntroller. Tickets: 01904 608000 or yorkmaze.com.
Show title of the week: Gary Stewart, The Only Living Boy In (New) York – An Evening of Paul Simon Songs, Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight, 7.30pm
GARY Stewart, singer, songwriter, guitarist, Hope & Social drummer and programmer for At The Mill’s folk bills, turns the spotlight on the songs of New Yorker Paul Simon, his chief folk/pop influence.
Born in Perthshire, Stewart cut his Yorkshire teeth on the Leeds music scene for 15 years before moving to York (and now Easingwold, to be precise). He is sometimes to be found fronting his Graceland show, another vessel for Paul Simon songs. Tonight, his focus is on The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Kodachrome et al. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.
Festival of the week outside York: Ryedale Festival, running until July 30
DIRECTED once more by Christopher Glynn, Ryedale Festival returns with 55 concerts, celebrating everything from Tchaikovsky to troubadours in beautiful North Yorkshire locations. Artists in residence include Anna Lapwood, Nicky Spence, Korean violinist Bomsori Kim and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen.
Taking part too will be Boris Giltburg, the Dudok Quartet, Jess Gillam, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, guitarist Plínio Fernandes,trumpeter Aaron Akugbo, pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, jazz singer Clare Teal and north eastern folk musicians The Young’uns, among others. For the full programme and tickets, go to: reydalefestival.com.
Work in Progress of the week: Mark Thomas in England And Son, Selby Town Hall, Sunday, 7.30pm
POLITICAL comedian Mark Thomas stars in this one-man play, set when The Great Devouring comes home: the first he has performed not written by the polemicist himself but by award-winning playwright Ed Edwards.
Directed by Cressida Brown, England And Son has emerged from characters Thomas knew in his childhood and from Edwards’s lived experience in jail. Promising deep, dark laughs and deep, dark love, Thomas undertakes a kaleidoscopic odyssey where disaster capitalism, Thatcherite politics and stolen wealth merge into the simple tale of a working-class boy who just wants his dad to smile at him. Box office: 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.
Festival of the week in York: Four Wheel Drive presents Connect Festival, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday to Sunday
FOUR Wheel Drive’s Connect Festival opens with Women’s Voices on Wednesday, staging two new shows, Giorgia Test’s Behind My Scars and Rhia Burston’s Woebegone. Thursday’s Non-Linear Narratives features Bee Scott’s queer sci-fi interactive travelogue If You Find This and Natasha Stanic Mann’s immersive insight into hidden consequences of war, The Return.
Friday’s Comedy and Burlesque bill presents Joe Maddalena in Gianluca Scatto and Maddalena’s dark comedy about male mental health, Self Help, Aidan Loft’s night-train drama On The Rail and A Night With York’s Stars burlesque show, fronted by Freida Nipples. More details next weekend. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Unhinged comedy of the week: Four Forty Theatre in Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
MACBETH in 40 minutes? Romeo & Juliet in 40 minutes? Both shows performed by only four actors on one raucous night? Yes, welcome back Four Forty Theatre, returning to the JoRo with a brace of Shakespeare’s tragedies transformed into an outrageous, flat-out comedy double bill.
In the line-up will be actress and primary school teacher Alice Merivale; Liverpool actress, musician, director, vocal coach and piano teacher Amy Roberts; company debutant actor-musician Luke Thornton and company director and pantomime dame Dom Gee-Burch. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Tribute show of the week: Legend – The Music of Bob Marley, York Barbican, Thursday, 7.30pm
LEGEND celebrates the reggae music of Jamaican icon Bob Marley in a two-hour Rasta spectacular. “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright” when the cast re-creates No Woman No Cry, Could You Be Loved, Is This Love, One Love, Three Little Birds, Jammin’, Buffalo Soldier, Get Up Stand Up and I Shot The Sheriff. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Knock-out show of the week: York College BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen Graduating Students in The Sweet Science Of Bruising, York Theatre Royal, Thursday and Friday, 7.30pm
JOY Wilkinson’s The Sweet Science Of Bruisingis an epic tale of passion, politics and pugilism in the world of 19th-century women’s boxing, staged by York College students.
In London, 1869, four very different Victorian women are drawn into the dark underground of female boxing by the eccentric Professor Sharp. Controlled by men and constrained by corsets, each finds an unexpected freedom in the boxing ring as they fight inequality as well as each other. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.