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Shame review: Shame are the best band I’ve seen play in Norwich this year

PUBLISHED: 12:46 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:46 27 November 2018

Shame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Shame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Paul Jones

Critically acclaimed punk outfit Shame paid their first visit to Norwich this evening, riding a wave of five star reviews and social media adulation since the launch of their debut album ‘Songs of Praise’ in January. Some say Idles are currently the UK’s most animated, anarchic touring live act. I’d say after tonight’s brilliant performance the Bristolians have very strong competition for that accolade.

Shame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul JonesShame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

As the lights dipped and the strobes flared the South London five piece took immediate control of the room. Lead man Charlie Steen shouting the lyrics to ‘Dust on Trail’ while Josh Finerty launched his ferocious attack on bass, jumping, kicking and running back and forth like a mad man. They began to power through their already considerable catalogue of snarling, anthemic post-punk, dropping the colossal ‘One Rizla’ third track in, sending the already lively crowd into a frenzy.

Shame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul JonesShame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Dressed in sensible but scuffed shoes, baggy office trousers and a grubby shirt, Steen interacted constantly with the crowd, soon jumping into the photography pit and asking people on the front row to sing into the microphone, before taking one of several crowd surfs. The energy levels were high throughout the hour long performance, turning the sold out venue into a huge, pulsating, sweaty mess.

The majority of the album followed, including the more downbeat ‘Lick’, the snarling ‘Tasteless’, ‘Friction’, ‘Angie’ and ‘Lampoon’, with the best saved for the encore; ‘Concrete’. One of my very favourite tracks of the year. By this point the crowd was in full riot mode, and a varied mix of people were enjoying every second; from a few starry eyed girls at the front seeking Steen’s attention, to moshing young lads and older rockers . The bands roots in the Brixton free party scene were evident by their intent to give everything in this performance and get people moving. One of the strongest I’ve ever seen at this great venue.

Shame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul JonesShame at the Waterfront, Norwich. Photo: Paul Jones

Their support was mix, starting with the Dublin quintet Fontaines D.C. whose lead singer Grian Chatten is an interesting combination of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and The Fall’s Mark E. Smith, as he paced the stage like a coiled spring before delivering spoken word and sung lyrics. Always a tough gig, they did an excellent job on stage first. I’m not surprised to read in the NME they have already supported The Horrors, Girl Band and The Lemon Twigs on tour, and have garnered strong support from Steve Lamacq on Radio 6 Music, and the more respectable end of the music press.

They were swiftly followed by Sorry, fronted by the impressive Asha Lorenz. However, despite her stage presence and maniac drumming by Lincoln Barrett I was not impressed by their relatively flat sound. The packed crowd seemed to watch un-animatedly as they moved through their repertoire. The only buzz in the heaving room due to the fact we were moving closer to the main act Shame entering the stage.

Once again I have to mention the excellent job the Waterfront team do. From the security, to the front of house, the sounds and vision guys and the bar staff. There are never any problems here and everyone always seem to leave in a great mood. And they consistently bring excellent bands to the city who play to packed rooms, as well as supporting up and coming bands local acts.

Tonight I’m going to call it. Shame are the best band I’ve seen play in Norwich this year. Hats off to the Waterfront, you’ve done it again.

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