Friday, September 9, 2022

Live Shows: Shame and They Hate Change, The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA 9/7/22

Photo by Sam Gregg

I've been saying for a while that one thing that is missing with punk and metal shows these days is a sense of danger, or at least a feeling that anything could happen. Any footage I've seen of Nine Inch Nails' Boston Calling set is a sea of people standing perfectly still holding up cell phones, and over the summer I watched a bunch of kids form a conga line in the "pit" during 7 Seconds' set at the House of Blues. You even hear people talk about getting "pit" tickets when they just mean general admission floor tickets. I'm happy to report that thanks to Shame, the menace is back with punk rock.

That's not to say that the crowd this past Wednesday night was filled with hardcore moshing. If anything, it was more a pogo pit with a little pushing and bumping around. But, I also haven't seen a band work this much of the crowd into such a frenzy for such a large amount of the show in a long, long time. By the time the London based band launched into their second song ("Alphabet"), the crowd was already fully into it. It could be that vocalist Charlie Steen is just captivating. He took the stage in a tourist shirt for Cheers, and just had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout their set. It could have been Josh Finerty barrelling around the stage for pretty much the entire show. Regardless, this is a band that has a small but rabid following. Adding to the sense of danger or "anything can happen" was Steen standing on the crowd's hands for a song in the style of Iggy Pop. Shame put on an incredibly intense show and may be the heirs to The Jesus Lizard's throne.

Opening the show was They Hate Change. Normally I check out the opening band's music before the show, but for some reason I never got around to checking theirs out. I'm happy I didn't, since the last thing I expected was a hip hop duo from Florida to open. Vonne Parks and Dre Gainey might have been the perfect artists to open such a show. They perform an insanely high energy show and were basically in motion the entire set. If hip hop could be post punk, They Are Change exemplified that. This wasn't pretty autotuned hip hop, this is classic hip hop with a sense of danger. Something tells me you'll be hearing more from them around here.

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