2017 has had its Lesser Free Trade Hall moment.
It’s 9pm in the smoking area of Scala on the 18th October 2017, the galley space is wall to wall, and there’s so much anticipation in the air you could chew on it.
It’s coming up to Shame’s homecoming, headline set and there’s a hum and a buzz unlike anything I’ve felt before.
A young crowd of men and women: politically active, angry and subverting the norm, they’re using music as an outlet. Art project-cum-Punk New Romantics HMLTD are here. As are members of Fat White Family. Hotel Lux are here, naturally, and The Rhythm Method. Dead Pretties have pulled out at the last minute, for personal reasons, but it’s their intention to be here and that’s another (alongside Goat Girl) to add to the movement.
Because this is a movement. Of guitars. Of politics in music. Of a new kind of punk?
Shame pinball on stage. Frontman Charlie is wearing a Stetson and a mask made out of tinfoil. A madness descends as the frenetic light show lead the five young iconoclasts into a crazed rendition of yet-to-be-released Dust on Trial.
Filthy, caked in noise and fucking very very angry, the songs spill out one after the other, melodic despite the decibels and (dare I say it?) commercially-promising despite the subversion.
Angie, a huge anthem, is presented to the crowd as the first performance of its final version. It’s one for the radio.
Charlie climbs, ape-like and topless, onto the tallest speaker as the crowd turn to him, chanting the words to Gold Hole. He spins into the throng on his back and stands atop their outstretched hands. Bassist Josh thrashes across the stage.
If we’re heading back towards guitar domination (and at Scala on 18th October 2017, who could suggest otherwise?), Shame are leading the charge.
Mid-set, The Lick peals out with that Apocalyptic bass-line and the crowd know the words…”this is how it starts.”