shame | They Hate Change
SWX, Bristol
Friday 10th March 2023

Photography – Cloe Morrison / @cloenna


Photography: Cloe Morrison

James Mellen
James Mellen

Bristol-based writer, specialising in musings on the world of music and fashion.

London post-punk veterans shame take the south-west by storm

Few bands manage to continuously raise the bar and calibre with every release, but London post punk veterans Shame are one of them. Since their stellar debut ‘Songs of Praise’ back in 2018, the rowdy quintet has been an unstoppable force of nature, dominating the scene with their incredible live shows and releases, furthered by mesmerising technical prowess and ingenious songwriting. Their third effort, ‘Food For Worms’ arrived at the end of February and was subsequently followed by a tour which has Shame (move over The 1975at their very best.

Photography: Cloe Morrison

This album tour saw Shame darting all over the UK and Ireland, playing sweaty, sold-out rooms to their legions of fans, a dedicated cult following built from years of being a staple of the scene. We caught Shame at Bristol’s SWX, a hotspot for bigger touring acts, which only reopened last September following a devastating fire. The Londoners were joined by Tampa Bay, Florida newcomers They Hate Change, an incredible duo channelling the energy of BROCKHAMPTON, with flows like JPEGMAFIA and a drum and bass undercurrent that could’ve come straight from Bristol. A bold choice, having an alternative hip-hop duo opening a post punk show, but clearly the right one. They Hate Change’s energy was matched flawlessly by the crowd with the duo bringing a new definition to ‘warm up act’ – after their half an hour it was surprising the crowd could handle any more. 

Photography: Cloe Morrison

At around nine, following dimmed lights and Richard Strauss’ ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, Shame flew onto the stage, wasting zero time and leaping headfirst into the set – quite literally, with frontman Charlie Steen executing a flawless stage dive within the first two minutes of the set. Shame thrashed through their catalogue at breakneck speed, chopping new album cuts in with fan favourites and older classics, notably ‘Concrete’ and ‘Born in Luton’ sending the packed-out room into a sheer frenzy. Slower moments like ‘Adderall’ were a pause for breath with Shame continuously proving they aren’t a one trick pony; ‘Food For Worms’ is a prime example of a band rejecting expectation. Following a noisy rendition of ‘happy birthday’, for bassist Josh Finerty, the band then dived straight into their OG hit, ‘One Rizla’, a post-punk track of anthemic proportions. 

Shame have set a benchmark for live acts in the post punk scene. Flawless performances of their tracks, unrivalled energy from every single member, and easily one of the best frontmen in all of guitar music right now. Their live show deserves just as much praise as their recordings, as these veterans not only play flawlessly, but have the entire crowd in their palm at the same time. 

Listen to ‘Food For Worms’ here: