“THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”
Such was the valiant proclamation of a sign hung above the merch table at the Echo last Friday night. The headliner that night was Shame, a band from London, and though the UK is undergoing its own political turmoil, it was the second band on the bill responsible for the messages of resistance. Egrets on Ergot invited the organization Refuse Fascism LA to table and pass out hand cards that night, having done so for several of their past shows. With the venue already steeped in punk rock aggression, what better time to recruit folks to stop fascism in its tracks.
Goon kicked off the night with sadcore screamo, followed immediately by the death metal of Egrets on Ergot. The stage was busy all night long with meandering players, Goon’s bassist even stepping offstage altogether by the end of their set. Egrets’ lead singer, a (nearly) clean shaven man who goes by Atom, was only tethered to his saxophone on certain tracks; other than that, he traversed every inch of space where his feet would keep him upright, hopping onto speakers, leaning on members of the crowd, and even standing atop the drums too. In the middle of the set, he dedicated the music to everyone who lost their lives in the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and at another point called for respect for trans lives. This is a band that stands for so much and has no qualms about spreading love.
When Shame marched up to begin their set, they found a crowd wild with energy. “We don’t turn away any aggression,” vocalist Charlie Steen told us after a few songs. “We don’t bite, we’re polite, enjoy yourselves!” They played through their promotional singles first, including “Concrete” and “One Rizla,” introducing the latter as a pop song they wrote when they were teenagers. With much of the equipment from the earlier bands swept away, Steen had room to bounce around on the stage, but he opted to lean over the lip of the stage, crowdsurf, or just jump down to mingle with the audience. By the end, he was on top of the Echo’s bar, stretching his arms wide like Christ the Redeemer. An apt image, given Shame’s ironic nod to the Christian BBC program Songs of Praise in the title of their debut record. Well, Friday night’s worship was meant for atheists and anti-fascists and everyone in between who fights for peace.
Don’t Accommodate, Normalize, Conciliate, or Collaborate. Refuse Fascism. Visit RefuseFascism.org to learn more about the organization. You can also email <RefuseFascismLA@gmail.com> if you want information about the local chapter.
by: Zoë Elaine