For the second time in less than a week, Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom played host to one of the bands leading the Changing of The Guard in British music. Artists who’s blistering sound, impassioned performances and connection with their audience, are forging a scene uninterested in begging for scraps from the Britpop table. South London’s Shame, like Idles the week before, tore through the Teragram in what was a set that was captivating, euphoric and at times anarchic.
After strong support sets from Goon and Sextile, Shame crashed onto the stage with Dust on Trial. Frontman Charlie Steen fixing the crowd with a wild eyed stare. His intensity and stage presence lying somewhere between Ian Curtis and Iggy Pop, Steen beckoned the crowd forward.
“You live in California, you’re good looking, you’ve got chiseled cheek bones, enjoy yourself”
He told us as they plowed into Concrete and One Rizla. Steen cranked both himself and the audience up. Whipping them into a swirling maelstrom. After prematurely announcing a new song, they conferenced before reverting back to setlist to play The Lick. Only the briefest postponement, before Human For A Minute received its Los Angeles premier.
Singling out members of the audience, calling them closer before diving headlong amongst them, Steen wasn’t the only animated band member. Bassist Josh Finerty tirelessly sprinted around the stage. Using the drum riser as a springboard to propel himself high into the air. Another new song, this one nameless gets a run out amongst Friction, Angie and Lampoon. As he passes the mic around the crowd, Steen enters a tug of war with the audience over his stage towel. Someone climbs on his shoulders, and before long he’s wading out over the top of them.
As the band took a briefest of breaks before an encore, you had to wonder how we all got through this riotous performance without anyone getting hurt. That turned out to be premature as Josh Finerty hit the deck. Eventually helped to his feet by a roadie, he was done for the night.
In someway, it was a prophetic end to the set. While Shame are a band that reject the traditional concepts of archetypal rock and roll stars. They still believe in the old fashioned notion of leaving it all on the stage. Prepared to shed blood, sweat, tears, and cartilage, if it means you having a good time.