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
The indie pop group Muna has been on tour since March of this year, hitting dates Down Under before taking the stage at Coachella and around the US, weaving their own headline dates in between opening slots on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. If the trio—lead singer Katie Gavin, lead guitarist Josette Maskin, and guitarist/producer Naomi McPherson—or their backing band is at all tired from this intense schedule (or the acoustic rehearsals each day after soundcheck for a soon to come Tiny Desk appearance) they didn’t show it for even an instant when they took the stage for two nights at Terminal 5 last week, putting on highly energetic sets with plenty of punk rock swagger and stadium show charisma to spare.
I’ve worked a few of their shows in the past (and indeed, was also working merch for this one and took a break to shoot the first three songs on night two) but this was my first time actually getting to see part of the show; I was totally blown away by the caliber of their stage performances. Aside from that, the vibes throughout the night were awesome, a packed house of LGBTQ family singing their hearts out and basking in the queer joy emanating from stage. Queer joy is something we all need now more than ever as even the most basic of our rights are under attack and are being stripped away on what seems like an almost daily basis. Muna more than filled everyone’s hearts with a healthy dose of happiness and pride. And I’ll tell you for sure, these are always the most fun nights for anyone who works in a venue, the excitement was palpably buzzing in the air from the moment doors opened.
Their set hit a blend of songs from their three albums, pulling most heavily from 2022’s Muna and song after song, this was a night filled with highlights. From the opening electro party romp “What I Want” to the country twang of “Kind of Girl,” the EDM-esque “Runner’s High” and the closer, their latest single, the infectious “One That Got Away,” and every song in between, fans sang along word for word, lost in each moment. They saved their now classic song of hope, “I Know A Place” from their 2017 album About U for the encore and before the festivities were over, the band had just a little bit more to wow the audience with. Fans who waited it out (and were lucky enough to have tickets for day two) were treated to an extra special guest at the very end when Lorde came out to sing with the band on their smash hit queer anthem “Silk Chiffon” (performing Phoebe Bridgers’ verse), the entire venue erupting into screams of absolute delighted abandon.
Support on night one came from UK rockers Nova Twins and from indie pop singer songwriter Lou Roy on night two.
While I listen to many genres of music, I most often attend/shoot punk shows because of the rush and the high of experiencing bands going all out. It takes a lot for me to be wowed by artists of other genres live because they often don’t match the energy and stage presence I crave as a fan and photographer. Muna smashed every expectation I had, owning the stage in a larger than life way, giving 110% to each and every fan in that room, the love mutual and tangible. This was genuinely the most fun show I’ve seen in a long time and they made me work harder as a photographer than most of said punk bands that I spend so much time with. (I’ve shot IDLES five times, a band that always make you work for it, and Muna matched them pace for pace without question.) When I returned to the merch booth afterwards, I was happily bopping on my toes the rest of the night, a punk nerd pleased as punch at the pop show as smiling fans came to purchase their tees and signed records, fully invested in a band that definitely means the world to them. Not one person there could have asked for a better night.
Scroll down for setlist, fan shot videos, pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
Setlist: What I Want, Number One Fan, Solid, Stayaway, Runner’s High, So Special, No Idea, Loose Garment, Winterbreak, Kind of Girl (with Lou Roy), Taken, Around U, Pink Light, Crying on the Bathroom Floor, Home by Now, Anything but Me, One That Got Away Encore: I Know a Place, Silk Chiffon (with Lorde)
Jangly Brooklyn powerpop heroes and stalwarts of the DIY scene, Safe Houses, are releasing a pair of brand new digital only singles this week—”Someday Is Starting Now (Julia)”/”I Don’t Feel Like Dancing”—and have an accompanying video for “Someday Is Starting Now” which we here at Full Time Aesthetic are thrilled to premiere today!
Directed by Jamie Frey and Tasha Lutek, the video sees the band in a place they called home for many years, the beloved and deeply missed DIY spot, Pet Rescue, which was founded by Safe Houses’ guitarist/singer Brian LaRue and was unfortunately forced to close last year. (Read our farewell piece.) Both songs have been longtime crowd favorites and staples of the band’s setlist and are being released in studio recorded form for the first time. They share that the songs are a “one-two powerpop punch, where the sting of unemployment, loneliness, and depression is swabbed with a salve of self-effacement, gallows humor and, ultimately, hope. They’re fitting salvos, following the rocky re-opening of NYC nightlife, a reboot of the band’s lineup, a legally mandated band name change (long story), and a series of sweaty gigs. Safe Houses are still standing. If you are too, let’s party.”
“Someday Is Starting Now (Julia)”/”I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” is available 5/9 via the University of Space Recording Company on all major streaming audio platforms. The band will play a release show at Our Wicked Lady on 5/9 with No Jersey, Mean 2 Me and Trash TV.
Watch the video below and keep up with the band on Instagram.
We here at FTA have been long time fans of the London based JOHN, the grungy punk duo of John Newton (lead vocals/drums) and Johnny Healey guitar/backing vocals). They have been mentioned in our Bandcamp Friday picks more than once, made our recent favorite two piece bands list and are always in heavy rotation at FTA headquarters, particularly 2019’s Out Here on the Fringes. They have toured extensively in the UK and Europe with the likes of some of our favorites— IDLES, Metz, and Mclusky— and I know I definitely have been anxiously awaiting my own chance to see them live over on this side of the Atlantic.
So you can imagine I was thrilled at the news that they will soon be making their “maiden voyage” across the pond and onto the hellfire shores of ‘Murica (with one Canadian date) for a 15 date tour this October, including a stop in New York at Saint Vitus for the final show of the run.
Along with the tour announcement comes a brand new song and video, “Trauma Mosaic,” which sees them pushing forward in the exciting new direction they began exploring last year with “Theme New Bond Junior,” (read our thoughts), and continues in this more subtle approach for the band. It’s not a totally radical shift though and they do stay true to the sound that is their foundation, but they have broadened the expanse of that sound and the perceived limits of a two piece punk band in the process. Newtown holds his signature growl back a bit to show off his vocal range nicely, the satisfying gruffness kicking in as the guitars intensify and the song hits the soaring choruses. I’ve loved getting to hear another side of this band who as it turns out, are just as great at pulling back and riding a feeling as they are as crafting rip roaring shout it out punk anthems. The song does just that, the last nearly three minutes spent on a building jam that hits a fever pitch in the waning minute before things settle down once more and we’re left to contemplate as the guitar echos away.
Newton shared about the song and video:
There’s a deliberate, claustrophobic repetition to the earlier stages of the song/video, which mirrors the very human tendency to obsess in cycles of thought — it’s certainly something we
both struggle with as individuals. If you take the title more literally, we all contain a patchwork
of images sewn together from the past, and these memories are used as a map of survival
within our present. These primal instincts seem overloaded nowadays, and we
become open to be haunted by even the slightest reflection.”
The song also comes paired with a video directed by Newton and the band’s long time collaborator Paul Grace. Watch the video below and scroll down for all North American Tour Dates.
Cool Kids Belong Together: A Tribute to “Fever To Tell” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (art by Dima Drjuchin)
Being a true music nerd who cut her teeth and cemented her music tastes/habits in the the 90s and early 2000s, I am a huge fan of a comp to tell a story—of a scene, of a label, of a moment in time—and a covers comp is perhaps the best way to tell the story of a landmark album and the impact it had on a city. And even more than that, the mark it made on the cultural landscape of DIY music within that city and how its legacy continues in the scenes that exist today because of it.
Just in time for the 20th anniversary of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut album, Fever To Tell—which was released on 4/29/2003—the Brooklyn music community has created just such a comp to pay tribute to, and tell the story of, the album and the creative seeds it sowed, inspiring countless musicians in the two decades since to blaze their own musical paths and forge unique sonic identities. Twelve bands in all have left their individual marks on each song from the now classic album, interpreting the songs in new and compelling ways, just as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs did with their fresh retelling of rock music that ended a decade of grunge and nu metal, and helped kick off an indie rock revolution.
Jon Daily (who plays drums in Kissed by an Animal and sings in The Black Black) is instrumental in running the DIY spot East Williamsburg Econolodge aka EWEL which also serves as the nucleus for the scene that created the comp. He shared that the idea arose like many great DIY ideas do, when shooting the shit after a show: “A handful of us were just talking after an Econo show one night and the idea of putting out a cover album compilation came up. We thought it’d be a fun project and a good way for a bunch of us all to be on a record together. I always loved comps when I was younger and first discovering independent music. It was a great way to hear a bunch of bands and I would usually end up getting a full length from one or two of the bands on it. We wanted to do a record by a New York band that we all loved and that was perfect the entire way through. Kasey (from AVSE) suggested Fever To Tell, and we pretty much all went, ‘Yeah, that’s the one’.”
And thus began the process of coordinating the project, picking the bands and doling out the songs as well as recording, all of which speak to the commitment all of these bands have to DIY and the special place it holds in our lives. Working around full time jobs, partners, kids in some cases, and numerous other commitments, the bands all came together to make this comp a reality. Daily shared on the selection process: “We asked bands that were around Econo Lodge—hanging out there and playing shows there. Unfortunately there were more bands we wanted involved than there were songs on the album so we originally planned to ask other bands to do other YYY tunes, but the project started ballooning and we had to limit it to the twelve songs on the album. Hopefully we’ll do another comp soon and we can get more bands involved. Once we had all the bands on board we asked them to rank three or four songs from the album that they wanted to do. And then we just kind of mixed and matched to get to a place where we felt like everyone would be reasonably happy and where we felt like we’d have a cool mix of styles and approaches.”
The comp also got the blessing of the band and Daily told us that drummer Brian Chase was “very supportive and got that we were doing this from a place of love,” adding “I was really impressed that he listened to all of the songs and he seemed to be into it.”
Daily also related that the album was an big inspiration to his younger self and said, “Today, being an active musician in the DIY Brooklyn scene, and being a part of making this tribute, really feels full circle for me. While the records I make with my bands don’t have the impact that FTT did and don’t sell even in the same ballpark as that record did, the fact that I’m part of a community that can come together and make this record is mind blowing to me. If people take one thing away from this release, I hope it’s the power of community. There’s no way I could have done this by myself, nor would I have wanted to. It’s the support and the excellence of craft of the people in this community that made this happen.”
Perhaps most poignantly, he also reflected on the place of love that made this tribute possible and what it means to be creating DIY art and music in an increasingly hostile world, in a city that has so radically transformed—and not for the better—since Fever To Tell was released: “To me, the DIY ethos and the community around that is so important right now. We are living in a world that is increasingly dominated by global media. We are constantly inundated with incredibly talented people pushing their very highly produced entertainment at us with tons of money fueling that push. It’s very easy to feel like nothing we would make is worthwhile because it won’t be able to compete at that level. But it’s so important for us to express ourselves in creative ways, because if we can’t, that energy ends up coming out in destructive ways,” a sentiment anyone who has a creative bone in their body can surely agree with.
He went on to say “I find the act of creation to be incredibly soothing—it helps me feel worthwhile on this very crowded planet where it is very easy to feel not good enough and unvalued. I see the creation of art in a local community as part of a self fulfilling creative cycle. Just because I can’t write a song that gets a million plays on Spotify does not mean it’s not worth it for me to write that song. It’s worth it to me, and it’s worth it to the community that I live in, because it helps me feel good, and I use my own good feelings to support those around me to make their own art and so forth and so on.”
This comp is indeed full circle and beyond for the musicians who had a hand in making it, a true love letter from the DIY community of NYC. You can’t ask for a more fitting tribute than that.
Cool Kids Belong Together is available now for digital pre-order from EWEL Records and has also been pressed as a limited run vinyl edition for Record Store Day available in local shops or direct from EWEL.