Shame and Viagra Boys pummel Nashville

A few days ago I saw a question posted on Reddit, asking:

“What is a hill you are willing to die on?”

This essentially means you have established an opinion or conviction you believe so wholeheartedly that it’s almost unshakeable. At the time, I didn’t really have a good answer, so I just scrolled past and didn’t give it much thought. Last night, however, the answer to that question finally hit me like a ton of bricks; it should have been so obvious, considering how many shows I attend on a regular basis, but for me, my hill is ‘European bands are far better than bands from the U.S.’ I could probably write a thesis on this subject, but for now, I will use the Shame and Viagra Boys show at Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl as my case studies. 

The Viagra Boys formed in 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden — a place, so far as I can tell, not known for punk rock music of any kind. Sadly, it took me almost six years to find out who they were, but in a very short span of time, I have become obsessed.

At first glance, the band looks like they just left a bar at 4am…

Perpetually stuck looking hungover. Lead singer Sebastian Murphy kept on a pair of dark sunglasses the entire set and, despite moving around as if he has taken one too many shots of tequila, he is an exemplary frontman. He is the pure definition of ‘punk rock’: he smokes onstage, spits beer into the faces of his rabid fans and lays on the ground telling long-winded stories about shrimp in between songs. On multiple occasions, he propositioned the crowd to pay him money to see or touch various parts of his body. Imagine having an overweight, foul-mouthed, tattooed, drunk, scumbag stepfather, who just so happens to be in one of the best bands you have ever known… and I mean these descriptions with the utmost respect and admiration. While it is unclear if it’s all an act or if this is reality for the Viagra Boys, they are truly one of the greatest live acts I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Their latest release, Caveworld, is an absolute masterpiece and will definitely make my ‘Best of 2022’ year-end list. 

Shame, an amazing band from south London, concluded the evening of music by dropping the musical equivalent of an atomic bomb on the typically reserved Nashville crowd. Before they could even finish their first song “Dust on Trail”, lead singer Charlie Steen was already leaping into the unsuspecting crowd. Bassist Josh Finerty was jumping around so erratically that his in-ear monitor pack kept falling out, much to the dismay of the stage crew. They performed as if they were possessed by some unseen spirit of rock and roll; it was truly a spectacle to behold. I am no psychologist, but in life, I have found that there are personality types that cannot help but cause chaos. We have all seen them… those guys at bars who seem to want to fight anyone who looks their way. Shame, in a much similar manner, has found a way to fight an entire audience with their music.

Shame completely pummels crowds with their songs instead of their fists.

I didn’t want to leave the photo pit, because it felt like the only safe space in the entire venue. Somehow, I managed to survive the venue-wide mosh pit for the remainder of the show and left feeling sore, but completely satisfied! If you happen to be in any of the cities on the remainder of their country-wide tour, get off your asses and see why I think European bands are the absolute best in the world! 

Photography by Derek Jones

Share this article

or

Become a Patron

Tour dates for shame

Get music updates in your inbox

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments