Monday nights typically aren’t great gig nights. Weekend-induced lethargy and a lack of cash tend to make for lower turnouts and, in general, a more sedate atmosphere. Tonight, however, two factors mean Shame’s show in Oslo is a major exception to that rule.
Photo: Richard Ashton
Firstly, this particular Monday falls the day before Labor Day, and the novelty of a Tuesday off work is enough to evoke a Friday night mentality in many who would otherwise have preferred a night on the sofa. Secondly, and more importantly, Shame have steadily built a reputation as one of the most exciting live acts on the current touring circuit. The hype surrounding the band reached new heights in January this year with the release of their debut album «Songs of Praise», complete with glowing reviews from most music media outlets, and even mainstream press coverage in their native UK.
There is no pretension or rock star image – it’s one big shout-along and everyone’s invited.
They begin with album opener Dust on Trial, which sets the tone. Nearly half the crowd immediately launches into a sweaty pogo led by frontman Charlie Steen, who spends almost as much time crowd surfing as he does on stage, regularly offering his microphone to various members of the audience to assist in vocal duties.
Before second song Concrete, Steen sets some ground rules: “There are two things you need to know about this band: 1) we don’t tolerate any abuse, oppression or discrimination; and 2) this is just entertainment, don’t take it too seriously”. This message of inclusivity and ‘we’re just here to have fun’ is clearly central to the band’s ethos, and is repeated throughout the set. There is no pretension or rock star image – it’s one big shout-along and everyone’s invited.
Loud and angry
All five band members give the impression they’ve been keeping crowds entertained for years – it’s easy to forget they are barely out of their teens.
Even on slower track Angie, the intensity and energy of Shame’s live performance doesn’t fade. Bassist Josh Finerty adds to the equation by regularly sprinting and/or jumping from one side of the stage to the other, whilst the drummer and two guitarists maintain a composed balance. Despite Steen’s insistence that Shame are “just semi-professionals”, all five band members give the impression they’ve been keeping crowds entertained for years – it’s easy to forget they are barely out of their teens.
The set comes to an end after around one hour and involves no encore, though most of the crowd would happily have seen more. Instead, they’ll have to wait for Shame’s next visit to Oslo, probably in a much bigger venue. Not that it matters much – this is a band everyone should see if they get the chance.
Shame @ John Dee: 9 / 10