Just over a year ago Shame's vocalist Charlie Steen stood before another feral crowd just down the road from where we are this evening. He sauntered on stage at Scala and began clawing viciously at the tin foil wrapped around his face. In the year that has followed they’ve become “international geezers”, playing to crowds across the globe and unbeknownst to the majority of the audience that night, the songs they tore through were soon to be the body of one of 2018’s most celebrated records.
Fast forward to now and the accolades that are held by Songs Of Praise are just as biblical as the title’s theme. Witnessing a Shame gig could be compared to a religious experience, as Steen captivates and commands his disciples (the audience) from the opening chords of ‘Dust On Trial’ right through to the ending notes of ‘Donk’.
‘One Rizla’ - the oldest track that made it onto their debut - sounds fresher than ever as the indie-esque riff rattles out of the speakers and snakes it way around the Kentish Town venue, whilst ‘The Lick’ and ‘Gold Hole’ are still filthy and seething with salacious lines like, “she wants the money, it comes with his cream, so she closes her eyes and pretends it’s a dream.”
We should also take a moment to recognise bassist Josh Finerty’s impressive forward rolling on stage, whilst still playing bass. It helps to strike a perfect balance between playful and angsty, showing naysayers they’re not angry all of the time, and that boys just wanna have fun.
You could also be forgiven for thinking the band’s relentless touring may have gotten in the way of making new music, but this definitely isn’t the case when surprisingly three new songs make an appearance in the setlist. ‘Human, For A Minute’ is a more tepid number after the raucous delivery of ‘Concrete’, with echoes of lyrics like “I’m half the man I should be,” while ‘Cowboy Supreme’ and ‘Exhaler’ harness their blistering and frenzied approach.
“Shame, Shame, Shame, that’s our fucking name,” growls Steen, before dropping the mic and departing the stage, as the evening’s spectacle comes to an end. And at that exact moment in time, anyone else would have done exactly the same thing. 2018 has undoubtably been Shame's year, "no more, no more questions".