shame + Been Stellar @ Foufounes Électriques

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It’s been a while since I enjoyed a support band as much as Been Stellar tonight. Shortly after the New York 5-piece arrives onstage and bursts into the moody set opener, “Start Again,” I find myself transported back to my younger, impressionable days when I would regularly go from ignorance to adoration in the span of 30 minutes. Their sound is unmistakably NYC; frontman Sam Slocum has the swagger of Julian Casablancas and the vocals of Lee Ranaldo. While “Start Again” gives a nod to Geese, the riffs on “My Honesty” and “Shimmer” sound very Interpol. In a good way.

“Manhattan Youth” is the crown jewel of the set; as the bouncy chorus explodes into life over the up-tempo dance beat laid down by drummer Laila Wayans, I see heads look up and start nodding in unison, realizing what a song they just stumbled upon. It’s a bona fide summer anthem in waiting; 20 seconds into my first listen, I find myself sending it to my friend in one of those “you gotta check this song out” texts! The set closes out with the resplendent “Ohm,” starting out a little like Weezer’s “Only In Dreams” before dissolving into an equally pummeling conclusion to round off an immense 40 minutes.

Been Stellar setlist

  1. Start Again
  2. My Honesty
  3. Passing
  4. Valentine
  5. Shimmer
  6. Manhattan Youth
  7. Sweet
  8. Kids 1995
  9. Ohm

It’s surely a tough act for London’s shame to follow, but these guys don’t strike you as the kind to shy away from anything. Thunderous set opener “Fingers of Steel” gets the packed Foufounes crowd moving right off the bat before fully exploding on “Alibis.” My phone almost flies out of my hand into the abyss of the mosh pit, so I choose to move a little further back for the rest of the set. It turns out to be a good decision; except for a couple of relatively laid-back moments in the form of “Burning By Design” and “Adderall,” the pit heaves from start to finish. Frontman Charlie Steen is a bundle of energy throughout, constantly prowling the stage and inciting much of the ensuing chaos. Prior to “Six Pack,” he promises, “We are gonna get you ripped, chiselled, but you gotta MOVE!” before tearing off his Sailor Moon t-shirt and diving into the crowd midway through the song.

Drawing inspiration from a crowd surfer who reaches the wall of the balcony, climbs it, and then jumps back into the pit during “Water in the Well,” Charlie himself attempts (and succeeds) in the same feat during the set closer, “Gold Hole.” He also makes good use of his microphone stand, poking it menacingly at the crowd on “Tasteless” as he snarls, “I like you better when you’re not around!” On “One Rizla,” he even lifts weights with it, humbly acknowledging, “I’m not much to look at!”

He’s quick to lavish praise on Montreal as well. Right at the start, he exclaims, “We’re happy to be back in one of our favourite cities!” After “Orchid,” he crouches and addresses the crowd almost individually, admitting, “Montreal, some of our best shows are here!” before making the ultimate declaration of love that every Canadian needs to hear after “Snow Day”: “This was one of our best gigs in a long, long time; America’s got nothing on you!” As the crowd roars after the band leaves the stage following 75 exhilarating minutes, it’s clear that Montreal loves shame right back!

shame setlist

  1. Fingers of Steel
  2. Alibis
  3. Alphabet
  4. Concrete
  5. Six Pack
  6. Tasteless
  7. Burning by Design
  8. 6/1
  9. Born in Luton
  10. The Fall of Paul
  11. Adderall
  12. Orchid
  13. Water in the Well
  14. One Rizla
  15. Snow Day
  16. Gold Hole

Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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