Written by Cal Cashin
The point at which 2017 became 2018 is still fresh in the memory, yet this year has already been captivated by the rapid ascent of London five-piece, Shame. Hot on the heels of ‘Songs Of Praise’, their chart bothering debut LP, the group take to the stage of the 100 Club to perform the entirety of their opus in full - with only the inimitable ‘Donk’ emitted.
Support came from Black Midi, guitar hotshots that can be frequently seen thundering about Brixton’s Windmill. Shame’s reputation lies in their indomitable energy, and Black Midi’s spiralling guitar tunes were hammered through the PA with a similar intensity. Influences ranging from The Fall to Sonic Youth to the Butthole Surfers in tow, it’s no wonder they’re the next great group to emerge from Brixton’s fertile soil.
Whilst opting to focus on big sound over unstoppable energy, Sistertalk also laid down their claim to be the next big group on the emerging scene. A totally filled out power pop sound complimented the singer’s Mark E. Smith-style vocal licks, as the band careered from here to eternity with ethereal guitar lines following suit.
Whilst these bands left memorable impressions, however, the show was truly stolen by the headline act. The ensuing post-punk thunderstorm was opened by ‘Dust on Trial’. Frontman Charlie Steen hollered, “just. One. Step. CLOSER TO ME!”, as his body convulsed through the savagery of the group’s opener.
The group careered into ‘Concrete’, with both the guitarists exchanging guitar flourishes that would put the most skilled axe men to shame, before ripping into so called “pop hit” ‘One Rizla’. It’s an understatement to say the 100 Club embraced the rambunctious riffs and eternally catchy chorus, belting “if you think I love you, you’ve got the wrong idea”, back at Steen as though they were the last words the crowd would ever get to breathe.
As the band closed their set with a stunning trio of songs, ‘Friction’, Lampoon’, and ‘Gold Hole’, it was apparent to see just why Shame are quite rightly set for world domination. The pop grooves of ‘Friction’ cast a kaleidoscopic light upon Soho, whilst ‘Lampoon’ and its ferocious delivery set the whole of Central London on edge. But it was the guitar militia of ‘Gold Hole’ that ushered the biggest reaction, as the set reached its peak at its conclusion; Steen belted out “it makes me scratch that tender itch” to some of the most scorching punk rock instrumentals since The Stooges put down their instruments for good.
Shame’s gigs are not only a statement of intent, but a display of touching unity. A crowd ready and willing to belt out Shame’s anthems for doomed youth was every bit as inspiring as their furious set, and with the support as good as Black Midi and Sistertalk, it looks like the future is certainly angry, and ferociously bright.
Photos by Ellen Offredy and Phoebe Fox.