Indie band Shed Seven really can do it on a cold Monday night in Norwich
- Credit: Paul Jones
'Can they do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?' is an old football question to determine just how good a team really is.
And I would imagine the live music equivalent is whether a band or singer can turn up and 'do it on a cold, rainy night in Norwich'?
For this was exactly the challenge facing 90s Britpop favourites Shed Seven as they played to a near sell-out crowd at Norwich's Nick Rayns LCR on Monday, December 6.
The band, who have an impressive back catalogue of 15 top 40 singles and four top ten albums, are in the middle of their annual (covid allowing) Christmas UK tour, lovingly known to fans as Shedcember.
For some reason (and this is a fact highlighted by lead singer Rick Witter himself) it always seems to stop off on Norwich on a Monday evening - but that never seems to make it any lesser of an occasion.
And that's the case tonight as the band (a five-piece who are regularly joined by a brass trio) rip through their back catalogue in a stunning near two-hour set, complimented perfectly by a brilliant support slot by northern indie band Lottery Winners.
Recent events, which saw two long-standing members drop out of the tour over the requirement of pre-entry covid tests, will have left some wondering whether they could still summon up the magic with a rejigged line-up.
- 1 Norfolk village named among poshest places to live in the UK
- 2 'Once in a lifetime catch' - man lands monster fish in Norfolk
- 3 Couple explores Norfolk homes in Escape to the Country
- 4 Drunk student crashed into hotel wall after drinking tequilas
- 5 'Fantastic, loving, cheeky' 19-year-old killed in motorbike crash
- 6 What is this mystery tower that has sprung up in Norwich?
- 7 MAPPED: Where thousands of homes could be built in north Norfolk
- 8 Tucked-away house in same family for over 100 years up for sale
- 9 Pub near Dereham has its first winners of steak-eating challenge
- 10 Elderly driver taken to hospital after village green crash
But those concerns lasted for all of about 30 seconds as they stormed through opener Room In My House from their most recent 2017 album.
Crowd favourite, after crowd favourite followed and it wasn't long before most of the crowd were singing along and a decent sized mosh pit had broken out at the front of the stage.
Witter, lead guitarist Paul Banks and bass player Tom Gladwin strut about the stage looking like they are having the time of their lives. They probably still are.
And, even though we've no doubt seen and heard it all before, so too are the crowd.
My own personal favourites borrow heavily from the band's first two albums and include a very funky Dolphin, Ocean Pie, Bully Boy and Getting Better.
But it's the most recognisable hits like Going for Gold, which segues wonderfully into a cover of Elvis' Suspicious Minds, Disco Down and Chasing Rainbows, that really get the audience going.
I haven't kept a tally, but this must be at least the tenth time I've seen the Sheds live. And they never phone it in and never let you down.
So the answer is loud and clear - yes they really can do it on a cold and rainy Monday night in Norwich.
But please come back on a Saturday next time!