Live Review: Shame at New Century, Manchester

Skiddle were at New Century to see the Manchester leg of Shame's UK tour for their new album 'Food For Worms', check out what we thought below!

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 13th Mar 2023

Now in their Food For Worms era, South Londons Shame are back out in the thick of a tour, recently taking the stage at the New Century, one of Manchester's best new venues, to play one of their infamously rowdy gigs for a Manc crowd clad in vintage leather jackets, shirts and ties, and Doc Martens - the band has clearly influenced more their fans than just their taste in music. 

Before they could kick into gear, however, there was the small matter of the support to deal with, and the punters at New Century were supplied with the unique treat of the energetic Florida duo They Hate Change, and boy did they start things off with a bang. Jumping around the stage in matching outfits (blue jacket, white pants, red t-shirts). Their charged, quintessentially American, style of rap was a surprising differentiation in style and pace, but it was quickly evident as to why they were in support. Engagement with the crowd, getting everyone warmed up and moving, and just with a general aura they emitted the purest of good vibes, they were welcomed with open arms by the Manchester faithful and left the stage with ear-to-ear grins both on stage and in the crowd. 

After the small interval and a crowd resupplied with pints, Shame grace the stage to uproarious applause, poignantly coming onto the stage to the Match Of The Day theme tune; hopefully, there were a few BBC staff in the crowd.

They then kicked straight into the Food For Worms lead single ‘Fingers Of Steel’ which the crowd of course already know all the words to. Frontman, Charlie Steen, jumps about the stage with the crowd in the palm of his hands. The screams of response to ‘You’re complaining a lot (complaining a lot)’ are belted in out in a nearly inaudible chorus that was undoubtedly heard in the area surrounding New Century. 

For the next two tracks Shame take a few steps back in time and hit with Drunk Tank Pinks ‘Water in the Well’ and the cult classic single ‘Concrete’ Song of Praise, continuing the chaos, particularly ‘Concrete’, which sees the first flourish of bodies slam together in the pit. The energy in the crowd is more than matched on stage, with the two merging as Steen steps up onto the barrier and starts a Jesus-esque walk on top of the crowd, who hold him up admirably and with divinity.

‘Six-Pack’, ‘Tasteless’, and ‘Burning By Design’ swiftly follow to equal aplomb, the latter of which sees Shames first venture into their more tender side. Whilst Shame are rightfully well known for their heavier numbers, and the way they can get a crowd moving, these softer more vulnerable tracks are where their musical virtuosity truly shines, an ability that is especially prevalent in tracks from the third record.

That all being said… The next two tracks we’re hard, fast, loud, and mosh-pit-inducing, to an absolutely exceptional degree. Both ‘Fall Of Paul’ (phwoar that bassline) and the riotous ‘Born In Luton’ send the crowd into a frenzy. Mosh Pits galore. 

The antithesis to what we’ve mentioned previously about what their strongest sound is, but at the same time just as bloody brilliant; Shame are a band that whilst undeniably deserving of the post-punk label, does not get themselves swamped in finding a prescribed place in the scene. Constantly looking for new sonic avenues to explore, and topics to delve into (much like the themes of friendships, and the tribulations that come with them, present on Food For Worms) the band always keep it fresh, but still recognisably Shame; a task that's a lot harder than it sounds. 

The excellent new single ‘Adderal’ follows; a track that brings back the tender side to the gig. A song of compassion and frustration and at the same an open realisation that sometimes your help and love can’t cure those around you. It's angry, and tender, and showcases everything about the band's progression to where they are today, a true highlight of the set and a sound the band quite simply have to explore further.

The band flies through three more from Food For Worms in ‘Yankees’, ‘Alibis’, and ‘Orchid’, each being met with just as huge a response. It’s telling just how much people love a band when the non-single tracks - as these three are - from an album barely out a month, are sung back word for word and met with mosh pits or the arm-in-arm embrace they deserve.

Image: Shame on Facebook

Coming towards the end of the set, the South London boys kick into the anthem from their second record, Drunk Tank Pink; ‘Snow Day’. Snarling and full of attitude, the track sees Steen once again mount the crowd, but this time with a more traditional crowd surf than his holy walk, and chaos of the best kind ensue. 

Raucous debut album crowd pleaser 'One Rizla' follows and features some of Shame's most recognisable lyrics - "Well I'm not much to look at / And I ain't much to hear / But if you think I love you / You've got the wrong idea” - which are unsurprisingly sung back in a drunken stupor from all in attendance.

The night rounds off with more first-album nostalgia, with cult classics ‘Angie’ and ‘Gold Hole’ bringing the night to a close. Goosebumps hit through the crowd like a wave and the energy in the room was enchantingly powerful.

Searingly intense riffs; huge, moshpit-inducing basslines; a crowd-surfing frontman that never gave in; riding a crowd that you’d be pleased to spend every gig for the rest of your life with; Shame were spectacular, and New Century was a fantastic venue. Chants of the chorus of Adderall were heard far and wide on the trek out and into Manchester’s streets.

What a band and what a night. If you have the chance to catch one of the remaining dates and tour, just stop deliberating and do it. There will be few better gigs you catch this year.




If you want to read our review of Shames's third record, Food For Worms, then you can do so by clicking, or tapping - HERE

If you want to get yourself down to one of Shames's other gigs left on the tour, then you can also visit their page on Skiddle, which you will find by clicking, or tapping - HERE



Check out our What's On Guide to discover more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.








Header image credit: Shame on Facebook

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