Shame at Irving Plaza (photo by Kate Hoos)
UK post-punkers Shame hit NYC in support of their latest album, Food for Worms this past Monday night, bringing their rowdy rock show swagger to the stage at Irving Plaza. But if anyone thought this was going to be a docile Monday night though, they were sorely mistaken. From the moment they took the stage and kicked off with “Fingers of Steel” from Worms, it was non stop chaos and catharsis, with the crowd singing along word for word with frontman Charlie Steen who got the party kicked off immediately, greeting the audience triumphantly and with perhaps a bit of a challenge, raising his arms and pulling a smirk that silently said: let’s fucking GO!
Steen then proceeded to spend a good portion of the set in and on top of the crowd (making his first launch over the barricade by the second song) and had everyone riled up to a fever pitch, frequently and lovingly calling those assembled at the altar of mayhem “motherfuckers.” He kept things dialed all the way up, up and UP, asking the crowd to go big “let me see how BIG the Big Apple can go!” and declaring that in New York, it may be a Monday, but “you motherfuckers go hard any day of the week” before asking everyone to “bring it up to a thousand fucking degrees.”
As for his bandmates, they rocked out furiously behind Steen, bassist Josh Finerty ran all over the stage and frequently leaped into the air with the energy of a pro athlete playing a championship game. Guitarists Eddie Green and Sean Coyle-Smith played with crisp, slick precision and drummer Charlie Forbes held the rock solid beat down. This was a performance by a band firing on all cylinders in peak form, song after song, they were locked in seamlessly and on point all night long. Steen also took time to light up a smoke between songs when offered a pack of cigarettes by a fan (“you can’t say no to a New Yorker”) and gave a shout out to Baby’s All Right, the place where they (and many international bands) played their first show in New York back in 2017.
Shame at Irving Plaza
They played six of the songs from the new album (though curiously omitting “Yankees” in perhaps the most fitting city to play it in) and touched on material across their catalog, devoting five songs of the set to 2021’s Drunk Tank Pink and hitting a few from Songs of Praise, including my absolute favorite Shame song, “Tasteless,” before closing with “Gold Hole” also from Praise. Steen climbed up to the balcony during this and launched himself into the writhing masses who joyously caught him and carried him back up front for one last wild hurrah before the band staggered off the stage in glorious exhaustion and the audience followed suit into the cool spring night, sweaty and happy as can be.
The night was opened by dancey hyper pop duo Tony or Tony and direct support came from Brooklyn based band Been Stellar, who is supporting Shame for the duration of the tour and are a great sonic match; they’ll be sure to make many new fans along the way. A number of local fans also came out to support the band and were rocking out just as hard to them as they later did to Shame. The tour will continue through the end of the month into the beginning of June, winding its way through the Midwest and Canada then into the South to conclude in New Orleans. Shame will return to the US for West Coast dates in September and October. And you know us motherfuckers in the Big Apple and especially here at FTA will be counting down the days until we get to experience their wonderful havoc in our gritty city once more.
Scroll down for setlist, fan shot videos, pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
Setlist: Fingers of Steel, Alibis, Alphabet, Concrete, Six Pack, Tasteless, Burning By Design, 6/1, Born in Luton, Lampoon, The Fall of Paul, Adderall, Orchid, Water in the Well, One Rizla, Snow Day, Gold Hole
TONY OR TONY