Review: John Shuttleworth, Sheffield City Hall

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WITH songs about trips to Crich Tram Museum and the perils of simultaneously having two tubs of margarine on the go, Sheffield’s alternative musical legend occupies nothing if not a niche market.

In a show driven by the upheaval of a new kitchen in the Shuttleworth home and associated appliances, the man in the trademark tan leather jacket and red polar-neck is clearly disturbed by change, even though he tells us he is a modern man.

Amid the banter from Graham Fellows’ brilliant creation are tragic-trivial new songs about his traumatic attempt to buy a cheap toaster off ebay and the unsociable consequences of leaving paintbrushes to soak in the kitchen, told via the Nirvana-inspired Smells Like White Spirit.

Convinced the heavy duty fencing erected for the Lib Dem conference is to stop ticketless fans getting into his show, John’s trusty Bontempo also squeaks and hoots into life for How’s Your Nan, an Indian grub themed tune about looking after our old ‘uns, a dittie about disaffected youths and a tune lamenting the humble bar of soap in the glare of liquid soap dispensers.

The tour title is inspired by the traditional bread roll, under threat from fancy breads such as the “paganini” and seeded batch since the “arrival of the bap in the ‘80s”, but JS reveals he’s not against everything new, including tuna mayo and the disappearance of Vim tubes mistaken as balloon pumps or kaleidoscopes by kids.

Shuttleworth occasionally gets a tad too Barron Knights in places, but with local references aplenty and an encore that features Two Margarines and I Can’t Go Back To Savoury Now, local hero status endures.

David Dunn