Words & Photography by Dev Place
Opening the night was Fontaines DC, who sheepishly took to the stage with a definite presence. They perform with influences that are so clear, it’s exciting for any post-punk fan to watch. For an Irish band, they would not be out of place in a Manchester club as they deliver their lines of upheaval: “the revolution will not be televised, baby. It will be live.” This band are so nostalgic yet fresh and treat the venue to an unassumingly strong set. For fans of IDLES, Joy Division and Hotel Lux.
Second support is HMLTD, a band that will always divide opinion. It is a performance full of gimmicks and lacks the authenticity of the headliner. It’s understandable that there is a lot of excitement surrounding their sound as they fuse synth and electro notes with a more traditional punk output. But, there is something about their outlandish outfits, from the dark angel wings to the Russian-appropriated military fashion; and the dated erratic stage presence that makes what could have been an enjoyable set to be more irritating than compelling.
With one of the strongest album releases of the year, ‘Songs of Praise’, Shame made it clear that they’re as much a live band as they are a soundtrack to your morning commutes. Steen is a voice of the people, steering away from the monotonous drool that most indie bands deliver; rather, Shame have something to say, and reignite that same excitement and urgency that was found in the post-punk movement from bands such as The Fall or Echo & the Bunnymen.
This band refuse to stay stagnant, their show may be mistaken for a flamboyant, narcissistic performance as they enter the venue in their boiler suits, goggles, and vintage suede. But ultimately, the entire set was without speeches, gimmicks or eccentricity. Watching on, it’s easy to forget this band are still so young- they clamber about the stage with such brashness. The only words spoken to the crowd were several thank yous, and a few words of encouragement before Steen launched himself into the crowd for ‘Gold Hole’, holding out the mic to his fans, screaming “shake me up!” into each other’s faces.
Shame are on a limitless path to becoming the biggest name in the indie/punk scene. They’ve proven they’re more than a few London lads being cool. They’ve stood out as genuinely credible live musicians and songwriters. They have a boyish charm that wins you over straight away, humour, and the anthems to go with it.
By Dev Place