I first heard about the Shed when I was at school. I was sixteen and an old friend who left the year before and went to college to study music was playing at the venue, it was the first time I’d heard ever heard about it. I just remember hearing about how cool and amazing this place was. This smelly little venue on the edge of town, a toilet, a dump of a place and a friend of mine was playing it.
Seeing the picture of his gig were something to behold. The small stage dimly lit and the large backdrop sign saying “The Shed” in the background. And there was my old mate rocking away with his guitar. I think he played the Saturday afternoon under eighteen slot, but I don’t know, I never went at that time.
I just thought to myself I have to go this shit hole one day and see his band play. But his band didn’t last long it was just a simple college band that played about 5 gigs and recorded some really bizarre but heavy songs.
So for the next couple of years after I left school I planned with friends to go to the Shed, I got a shitty provisional ID and I asked everyone “lets go to the shed, it don’t matter who’s on lets just go and fucking see a band”. But it never happened.
The first band I joined just became a bedroom band but we planned on getting tight and eventually playing The Shed, because that’s where everyone played. Get the songs down and then get that first gig on that venue and see what happens. But It never happened.
After four years of waiting to go to The Shed I finally got the chance to go. Four years of hearing about this toilet in town where Kasabian played their first gigs and i’m finally getting to go. It was 2010 sometime around July or August and the music world at the time didn’t really have much of a buzz going for it.
I get a phone call from a band friend telling me that we can go see his cousins band, The Boobytraps play the final of the OBS competition. I’d got to see them a month before at the Musician, a fancy music pub near to the Shed. It was my first live gig. The smell and look of the place when I walked through the door just felt right. A bar was the front and small stage was at the back. A poster of Richie Havens hung on the walls “Richie Havens Live at The Musician”. I should have gone to that. But I was finally getting to go to the Shed.
We turn up around 8:30, half drunk and excited for tonight, the final of a band competition. We walk through the doors and up the small flight of stairs that leads to the foyer. It’s everything I expected, it felt like the centre of the Leicester music scene. The place was packed with people, all kinds of people. Posters from past gigs sat on the wall, sound of music comes through the doors to the left of me and Kev sits at small counter at the top of stairs (Kev, the owner, later would go on to book our first gig). Above where he sits there is a picture of Kasabian in black and white the words “who’s next” underneath it.
We pay the £5 entry and we go in to the main stage, walking through the crowd of people. Older people, young people, indie rockers and metal heads and a guy who looks like Paul Weller (Jesus was that Paul Weller?).
We walk around looking for the Boobytraps, we grab a beer that costs £3.40 and we find a corner to stand in. The lead singer of the Boobys, my band mates cousin comes walking up to us and says to us “We are on next so get ready”. So we finish our cans of beer and run straight to the front of the stage.
As we stand at the front of the stage while the Booby’s set up and with a broken air conditioning unit dripping warm water on to our heads and a small fight breaks out in front of us.
A lady in a stripy shirt and white jeans had touched a girl with ginger hair on the arse and her savage of a boyfriend squared up to him “Fucking touch my bird, ill fuckin’ kel ya'” the boyfriend with a huge forehead and black eyebrows said “i’ll murder your arse”. The boy with white jeans backs off “sorry dude” he says “is that your missus”. The boyfriend with the big eyebrows shrugs his shoulders and walks away and leaves the front of the stage. The lad with the jeans sits on the stage and starts signing a Kasabian song before men in black coats grab him under the arms and walk him out (I didn’t see them at the door).
The boobys finish setting up and their intro music starts to play and red lights fill the stage. They walk on stage pissed as rats and go into a cover The Beatles Day tripper. The crowd of about 35 drunken loons go mad for them and they dance around like chimps. The are unknowns but their small group of drunken fans treat them like royalty.
After about 35 minutes of playing they finish to a huge round of applause from their fans and they stumble off the stage while a group of young blonde students take down their gear and the band head towards the bar.
We stand around and wait for the runner up and the winning band to be announced. As last years winners (The Heroes) play I can sense tense atmosphere is in the room, you can fell it like a storm is about to come over. I can’t make out the chatter amongst fans of the bands that have played, I just notice their excitement and anticipation for who is going to win the prestigious award.
A huge 6ft something woman in a black coat and red hair gets up on stage to announce the runner up. All the bands from the night line up at the front of the stage waiting for their name to be annouced “And your runner up is….. The Stiggz”. The Stiggz, a legendary Leicester based band which I only got to see on this night but I would continue to hear about them when I started to gig. They had a bad night. The bas guitar practically blew up and the strings fell off, if I remember rightly the bass amp also exploded into the face of the bas player almost sending him crashing across the room. The bassist had to a borrow a bass from last years winners.
They congratulated the crowd and the fans they brought and they bands that played that night and the eventual winner that’s to be announced. You can sense the disappointment from a majority of the people in the crowd, I think a lot of the crowd wanted them to win. They seem to have worked shit hard for it and just had abit of explosive bad luck on a night they didn’t need any bad luck at all.
They walk off of the stage and mix amongst the crowd, patting the heads of their fans as they walk by and brings back a memory of the film Cool Running’s.
The woman in the black coat and the ginger hair says “Thank you to The Stiggz.. and now your winner”. And that lump of excitement fill the air. They’ve fucking done, they boobs have done” says my friend. And the huge woman announces the winner and a small sigh fills the room. I can’t remember the band that won but it was an acoustic band who’s lead singer’s uncle was on the voting board. And everyone felt it, everyone knew. The bands fans where happy, all 12 of them that turned up. “What a load of shit” says my friend “They weren’t bad but they didn’t deserve to win, The Stiggz where the band of the night, the boobs should have come second at least”.
We decide to leave The Shed in disappointment and remorse and start to walk home. A taxi was going to be booked but we didn’t want to pay out more money. We were already lacking in funds. “I’ve got a text from Jamie” my friend says as we walk by a Subway “He aint happy, he says he’s abit pissed off but they seem ok.. The singers uncle was probably a judge”. We shake our heads and carry on walking home, mostly silent for the journey.
That was the first time I went to The Shed and it would become a staple for the future. 22 gigs will be played at the venue and I will be surrounded by people living a minimum wage lifestyle trying to become rock and roll stars. It’s the centre of everything rock and pop in Leicester. It makes sense to go there when you’re 18 and watch an drunk out of tune rock pop punk band playing songs you will most likely never hear on the radio.
It happened to one band and it might happen again, Kasabian played it and they got signed and eventually played to 50,000 people on Victoria Park. Arctic monkeys and Ellie Goulding they even had the chance to play a headline slot at The Shed.
It’s ok, these toilets exist and I will keep going to them.
Just another lock in and smoking and drinking around an acoustic guitar in the middle of the room while Dawn mops around us will do.
Ste Harris is entirely fictional and the writings in this blog are fictional. Some writes may be based around real places and real people but the stories are pieces of fiction and should not be taken literally.
As well, the views and opinions expressed in this blog by the people in them do not come from a personal or private place and should again be viewed as apart of a story.