I say anarchy because the Shame gig last Saturday night was totally devoid of any rules or guidelines as to how a gig is meant to go down. In fact, lead singer Charlie Steen’s reassurances that it was “just entertainment” and encouragement to just “let go, smile and have fun” only spurred on the already excited crowd. Excited to see one of the best new guitar bands around and also because we had all just been treated to a hell of an opener by Gurr who ran through a number of tracks from their impressive debut ‘In My Head’.
Whelans. What more can I say that I didn’t mention in my Big Thief review? Love it, could live there…that’s not a bad idea actually…
Gurr supported Shame on the night. Two rockers from Berlin, they unhinged the ceiling before Shame blew the roof off. Totally wild antics on stage, sliding guitar solos and Karen O esque vocals got the entire crowd going. The venue was already pretty full by the time they appeared on stage which was about 8:45 and within one track you could tell this was going to be a powerful support act. ‘Diamonds’ was the stand out for me with it’s catchy riff and the girls took full advantage of the energy from the crowd throughout their set, extending some tracks and just being wild in general!
There was an unusually long wait once Gurr had departed the stage but that really only gave the crowd more time to get excited. Our wait was rewarded when the guys appeared on stage, Steen in a mask, and tore into their set. We got all the bangers beginning with ‘Dust On Trail’. The gig didn’t start with them just warming up, they went full belt from the word go. ‘Tasteless’, One Rizla’, ‘Concrete’, ‘Friction’, ‘Gold Hole’, and more all given 100% of the energy they deserved. Steen’s frequent interactions with the crowd was great to see and he even passed the mic to some of the lucky fans up front to briefly take over the vocals! I was saying to myself, “this is fucking mental, great!” At one point he spat in his hand and rubbed it all over his bare chest, another time he took an umbrella from an audience member, popped it open and pranced around stage, and one guy up front even had Steen’s lips firmly planted on his forehead. For a guy who’s only 20, he sure knows how to work a crowd. He mentioned a few times his distaste for the business side of the music industry and I think that ‘fuck it’ attitude has done wonders for his on stage persona. Brilliant lead man. Bassist Josh Finerty was no different, jumping around, rolling on the floor while playing and screaming into the mic at every opportunity. The intensity of the gig is what has set it apart for me and it will live long in my memory (it’s still in my ears). They’re just young lads making the music they love and having fun, that’s all.
I stood right beside a huge speaker so I ended up hearing Charlie Steen’s thoughts. Whelans had the projector on which a few crowd members used to fix their hair, while the lighting was basic. But hey, I hardly went for a fucking light show did I?
Is quitting my job to follow them around Europe too much? Guess so, I’ll settle to see them again when they come back. Unbelievable energy, full belief in what they do and pure entertainers. Fantastic.