I wasn’t sure if South London band Shame’s furious, ragefully joyous post-rock sound and presence would translate to ACL Fest’s Honda stage at 12:15 p.m. on a Sunday. I was obscenely wrong.
Shame came to Austin to tear things up, and they succeeded wildly, wielding mic stands like jousting lances, bouncing off speakers taller than they are, climbing up and down barricades and just generally practicing an extremely sweaty and pummeling form of musical catharsis.
Lead singer Charlie Steen charged onstage wearing a T-shirt with “Not Angry” handwritten across the front, growling and scowling in the most perfectly British, perfectly punk way (though he ditched the shirt in due time on account of what he described as “blistering sunshine”). Bassist Josh Finerty used his Boy Scout frame to his advantage, flinging himself from one end of the stage to the other like a punk rock Peter Pan, all the while keeping his bass lines steady and heavy. Meanwhile, drummer Charlie Forbes and guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green held down the fort with super tight performances of their own.
Punk shows are just as much about the ethos and atmosphere as about the music itself, and Shame delivers on both, with head-thrashing anthems about being broke but still breathing as well as snarling reflections on weakness and strength. I haven’t been to a real, loud, drenching, grimy, throbbing, aching, electrifying punk show in quite a long time, and after Shame’s set I felt like I’d wrung my body and my brain right out. Thank you, Shame.