Shame Concludes Their Successful U.S. Run With A Rowdy Performance In L.A. The South London Rocker's Rocking Mischievousness Made For A Killer Night
LOS ANGELES, CA- When I was doing research for South by Southwest this year, I listened to a ridiculous amount of music. Ridiculous. Over time, the melodies of bands’ new music would eventually kind become background noise. Almost kinda like a white noise. Every so often, however, there’d be a track that’d slap me in the face and wake me up from my musical indifference. This is one of them.
Holy shit. I literally stopped all of the heavy drafting I was doing for my day job, and went down the digital rabbit hole to learn more about Shame, their origins and their music.
Hailing from South London, Shame consists of Charlie Steen (vocals), Sean Coyle-Smith (guitars), Eddie Green (guitar), Josh Finerty (bass) and Charlie Forbes (drums). They are a relatively new band, having released their debut, “The Lick/Gold Hole”, in 2016 and eventually released their stellar debut album Songs of Praise, in early 2018.
There’s a lot of solid post-punk bands out there- especially hailing from South London- but Shame’s execution of the genre makes them something noticeably fresh and visceral. Their music is loud, raucous and unrelenting with an undeniable swagger that makes the messaging in their music that much more attractive to listen to. They shred and scream about broken relationships and politics, but keep the lyricism plainspoken and blunt, giving anybody and everybody a clear sense of who they are and what matters to them.
Shame’s live performance was as electric as their record music, and their crowd was with them every step of the way. Charlie Steen had a mischievous look in his eye throughout the performance, and as soon the first notes were played and the band’s rhythms propelled the band’s set along, Charlie grasped the mic stand, lunging towards the audience, enticing them to get mischievous with him as well.
Charlie also made it clear to the audience that the evening’s hijinks would be done in a safe place. It was kind of like a mission statement with him suggesting that there wasn’t any room for any bad or malicious attitudes in the room. The crowd pulsed with the music and would at times get tights with bodies moshing about, but even the tiniest attendee- a petit asian girl would couldn’t have been more than 5 feet- was smiling and swelling with the crowd. Yeah, I got a nice foot to the face from a stage diver leaping into the open arms of a willing crowd, but even I saw smiling after the fact.
While Charlie was the obvious focus of attention, one can’t discount the other players as they were just as inspired and energetic as he was. In particular, bassist Josh Finerty was particularly fun to watch perform. His high-flying antics, jumping off of monitors or the risers that elevated Charlie Forbes drum kit were, as exhilarating as music itself.
After the music had ended, I exited the venue with a shirt drenched in sweat. I may have had a new bruise or two (in addition to the foot to the face, I also somehow got a bloody scratch down the middle of my chest), but with the amount of adrenaline pulsing through my veins, the blood, sweat and bruises didn’t bother me one bit.
Shame’s performance turned an otherwise mundane Monday night into something of a celebration of the rebellion of youth. When Charlie himself dove in the crowd, every hand went up into the air to support his body. When he crowd walked, those hands ensured that every step he took was secure. And the people who were holding up this English chap were all singing along, reveling the the mischievousness that had successfully permeated room.