Channeling Iggy Pop, a sweaty, shirtless Charlie Steen stepped out into the packed Asheville crowd, and onto the shoulders of a handful of fans. It was the late peak of a short, exhilarating set by South London punks Shame. The five-piece is on a rapid rise thanks to the release of their debut Songs of Praise, and a thrilling live show that most recently set SXSW showgoers buzzing. Barely out of high school, Shame is a confident and airtight live band with the raw energy their youth. Their sound is a ferocious combination of The Fall’s barb wire melodies and wit with a bit of the Chameleons, Wire and even some 80s hardcore mixed in for good measure, among other things.
The rainy Monday night in Asheville was the perfect setting for Shame to showcase why they’re the next big indie rock band. The low ticket price of free filled the room, and the band held nothing back.
Following Shame’s set was no easy task, but Baltimore’s Snail Mail pulled it off. The equally young Lindsey Jordan has really developed a stage presence since I last saw her open for Waxahatchee in Santa Fe a year ago. The songs may be the same, but they’ve grown more dynamic while retaining Jordan’s passionate heart that remains the core. Similar to Shame, Snail Mail is an artist with a bright future that we’ll likely be hearing about for a long time.
Preceding the pair of rising touring bands, local indie act BEX put an impressive spell on the crowd.