- The Rhythm Method
If your finger’s on the pulse of the indie world, then there’s no doubt you’ve heard of SHAME. There’s also little doubt that you’re in attendance tonight, Friday 13th no less, for their latest wrecking ball of an outing in Liverpool. Part of the South London punk scene that also includes Goat Girl and Meatraffle, Shame are unapologetically bringing politics and satire back into the alternative music scene, with singles such as Visa Vulture (a love song to Theresa May, penned when she was Home Secretary) and Gold Hole standing out as examples of their unashamed intent. It’s easy to see why people love Shame: they’re somewhat refreshing after having to endure years of publicly apolitical bands; but it’s also easy to see why people think it’s exactly what came out of indie 12 years ago, just repackaged slightly different for the new generation.
First of on tonight’s line-up are Scouse outfit MINCEMEAT, who set the tone of the night perfectly. Kicking off wonderfully with a ballsy mix of post-punk and punk itself, they’re certainly a band to keep an eye on within the rising North West punk scene. Next band on are THE RHYTHM METHOD, and I’ve never seen anything quite like them. The only way to describe them is like a punk Phoenix Nights-esque karaoke style, with song titles such as If You Voted Tory, You’re A Nonce. They command your attention, make you laugh, and leave you thinking ‘what the fuck did I just see?’.
With Shame, you get exactly what you expect: a shouty, aggressive sweat-fest, teenage boys bashing into each other as lead singer Charlie Steen loses his shirt halfway through. Instrumentally, they’re even tighter live than they are on record and it’s amazing to see a band perfectly nail that simplistic post-punk sound. It’s a sound that is gradually being ushered back into the forefront of indie – yet, I still get the feeling that something’s missing; that, lyrically, lines like “The four chord future” and “You’ve got a gold hole, sugar” make me laugh rather than enthuse me to snarl and fight the system. Maybe that’s the intention and I’m missing the point, as my friend completely loved them after hearing them for the first time. Divisive they may be, but they’re a band that you can’t really judge until you’ve witnessed them for yourself. Perhaps that’s the point all along, whether it’s Shame or any other band. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.