shame / Viagra Boys

Kills Birds

Friday, October 21
Doors: 7pm : Show: 8pm
$25 / Day Of : $30.75

There are moments on Drunk Tank Pink where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s Songs Of Praise. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

To understand this creative leap you need to first understand the journey Shame undertook to get here. From their beginnings as wide-eyed teenagers taken under the decrepit wing of The Fat White Family to becoming the most celebrated new band in Britain and their subsequent crash back down to earth. Come in, and close the door behind you…

“Never get out of the boat”

Cap. Benjamin L. Willard

It’s no exaggeration to say the members of Shame have spent their entire adult life on the road. A wild-eyed tour of duty marked by glorious music and damaged psyches, when it eventually careered to a stop the band were parachuted back into home territory. Shell shocked, dislocated and grasping for some semblance of self.

Shame’s previous bases – the notorious den of iniquity that was The Queens Head pub, the musical petri dish of Brixton’s Windmill – were either gentrified into obsolescence or no longer viable as an HQ. Sometimes home just isn’t home anymore. Or at least it’s not the way you remember it.

To cope, guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith barricaded himself in his bedroom. Barely leaving the house and instead obsessively deconstructing his very approach to playing and making music, he picked apart the threads of the music he was devouring (Talking Heads, Nigerian High Life, the dry funk of ESG, Talk Talk…) and created work infused with panic and crackling intensity.

Shame Links: Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Some say Viagra Boys is something akin to a looking glass pointed at the absurdum of existence and misconceptions of modern society – a depraved and ferociously bass-driven judgement on western civilization, a distorted 24/7 party on the acid highway whilst the world slowly rots away.

Others claim they´re more like a gross joke on masculinity, gleefully serving up escapist narratives lacking any form of self-preservation; like an obfuscated back alley door into the backwaters of the human psyche.

Metaphors aside, Viagra Boys is an unapologetically raw sextet comprised of classically trained jazz musicians, karaoke loving tattoo artists and seasoned hardcore scene veterans, churning out spastic, pulsating sounds from the sub levels of contemporary rock music – a bellowing, unstoppable force majeure of latter-day punk, PTSD disco and synthetically enhanced kraut.

And as equal parts Iggy Pop and Hank Williams, singer and frontman Sebastian Murphy embodies all that which Viagra Boys are ultimately about; a fractured, perhaps disillusioned act, taped up and held together by inextinguishable bravado, explosive appearances and resourceful songwriting.

Viagra Boys Links: Website | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify