17th November 2018…
Just returned from selling out dates across the US and Asia, Shame have hit a warm welcome home for the UK leg of their tour with debut Songs of Praise named as Rough Trade’s album of the year. Friday night’s stop off at Portsmouth Pyramids leaves no doubt that everything that’s going right for them is more than justified.
Opening act for the evening is Dublin’s Fontaines DC, currently creating a huge buzz of their own and it’s pretty easy to see why.
Their presence on stage is full of angst and slightly unnerving energy; dark hints of Joy Division alongside contagious guitar tunes layered with a commentary that sounds like Mark E Smith might have if he had an Irish accent, notably on opening track Chequeless Reckless. Their eight song set feels all too short – one thing’s for sure, if you’re looking for intensity and authenticity you won’t go far wrong with Fontaines DC – look out for extensive upcoming tour dates.
Next on, HMLTD continue in their quest to be the next generation Blitz Kids. There’s no denying that they put on a show, though at times the costumery and faux American accent make it feel more like musical theatre for the disillusioned than a gig. Highlight of the set proves to be last year’s spaghetti western infused pop release To The Door.
With no need for props, Shame storm onto the stage heading straight into Dust On Trial and Concrete, the crowd completely immersed from the start. There’s a rush of vitality that never lets up; the band have firmly mastered the art of balancing angry, visceral punk with a welcome element of humour. There’s no down time throughout their set, new and old songs played and received with equal enthusiasm.
A great atmosphere and a mesmerising performance ending with Donk, a track they describe as nonsensical. What Shame have achieved so far may or may not make sense but they are undoubtedly one of the best live bands around right now, songs of praise indeed.
Words and photos by Siobhan