“Enjoy yourselves.” Shame’s effervescent frontman, Charlie Steen, encourages a packed crowd in LUU’s Stylus to do as such innumerable times throughout their dynamic, high-powered set. Perhaps it was sheer will power from the amount of times the 21-year-old repeated the phrase or the work of the trio of bands gracing the stage that night, but it seems every person in that room did indeed follow Steen’s request.
The support for the night comes from Dublin’s FONTAINES D.C., and HMLTD, both eccentric and interesting bands in their own right. FONTAINES D.C. deliver an intriguing brand of indie-punk defined by their heavily-accented vocals, cementing themselves as a band set to develop impressively by the sound of latest release, ‘Too Real’. Meanwhile, the snake-print coat and beret donned HMLTD’s glamorous fusion of electronic punk rock is theatrical and ambitious – experimental tracks like ‘Flex’ permeating their set warms the crowd up perfectly for the headlining act.
Shame are one of those bands who entirely come into their own in a live setting – the audience are completely in the palm of Steen’s hands as he commandeers through the entirety of the band’s incredible debut album, Songs of Praise, alongside a couple of new songs, such as ‘Exhaler’. Crowd surfing in the very first song of the set, ‘Dust on Trial’, the South-London trailblazers set the standard high for the night but manage to deliver ten-fold. Anthemic and indignant, their ferocious lyrical observations are amplified, and it is quite clear to see why they have had such a fervent buzz of conversation around them for the last year or so. Within the realms of a genre which has seemingly churned out identical guitar bands for the best part of the past few years, Shame are a breath of fresh (though admittedly, angsty) air. Furious and enthused, their growth comes as no surprise as they dominate the entire room with their vivacious political commentary and unfathomable balance of nonchalance and enthusiasm. Steen chants “Shame, Shame, Shame, that’s the name”, and it is undoubtedly a name to remember.
Header Image by Jenna Foxton