Friday, April 20, 2018

Live Review :: Shame :: Electric Ballroom, London - Apr 18 2018

Credit: Jonathan Harman

Live Review 


Electric Ballroom, London 

April 18 2018

Words: Linn Branson

You look at Shame tonight, playing to a sold out room at London's Electric Ballroom and just have to think my, how far they've come. When Little Indie discovered them in late 2014 after a missive with a track called 'Furry Freaks (Sunrise)' winged its way in from drummer Charlie Forbes, they were an unknown gaggle of raw-edged, 17-year-old punks just starting to stick their heads up over their South London parapet. No one knew them (outside of Brixton, anyway). No one had written about them. As I wrote even then, "they are certainly making an impression."

                         Credit: Jonathan Harman

Now, three-plus years on, that 'impression' is firmly stamped. They opened 2018 releasing a debut album ('Songs Of Praise') to critical acclaim (widely believed will figure prominently in end year 'Best of' lists), a trek to wow crowds in Australia, and them to do similarly with American audiences on their US tour, which included a stop-off at SXSW - frontman Charlie Steen still parading his cowboy hat this evening -  before arriving for this hometown show with guns blazing, and fan fervour at fever pitch.

                                    Credit: Atmr

Having built up confidence on the aforementioned live forays, Shame leave no stone unturned as they pull out the stops from the off. With as much energy and feedback emanating from the tightly packed and very sweaty fans as from the stage, they kick off on a rousing ‘Dust On Trial’, with Steen more or less starting as he meant to go on - with a dive into the front row.

As they move onto the popular, tightly sprung post-punk 'Concrete' and anthemic 'One Rizla', it's not long before he is divested of most of his clothes - top half, at least - and is losing moisture like a leaky sponge, as he looks down upon a crowd of sweating bodies in front of him.

They rampage through the artful ‘The Lick’, with its wry lyricism of a sexually deprived male ("So in the past week I've made several trips to the gynecologist / He was surprised to see me standing there / With my golden ticket hanging out of my left pocket…"),‘Tasteless’ the arms-in-the-air live favourite, and the jaunty 'Friction'. The untitled new track they slot in fields an upbeat, jangly refrain that uggests perhaps a moving outwards, and lyrically upwards. After the soaring, gritty riffed 'Gold Hole' finishes the set proper, they conclude on 'Donk', as Steen declares the night has been "pure ecstasy”.

Can't get better than that.

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