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Shame

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First Unitarian Church

2125 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Shame w/ They Hate Change at the First Unitarian Church

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Shame

Since starting out as school boys, this five-piece band has become notorious for stealing every stage with the outrageous, jaw-dropping performances that have become the shame signature. Their riotous two-year journey has included gate-crashing a Glastonbury stage, supporting The Fat White Family, Warpaint and Slaves, performances in Europe, Austin Texas, a nomination for best new artists at the prestigious Anchor awards, headlining their own UK tour and releasing the double A-side single, Gold Hole/The Lick and follow-up, Tasteless.

Formed in the playgrounds of South London, Steen met guitarist Sean Coyle-Smith at primary school. They got together with guitarists Josh Finerty and Eddie Green at secondary school. Charlie Forbes –the drummer – was at nursery school with Green. Bonded by their precocious taste in music (one of their first gigs was supporting their hero Mark E Smith of The Fall) during their A level years they were hanging out at Stockwell’ s Queen’ s Head – unofficial home to The Fat White Family.

“We were sucked into this alternative world which just crystallised everything we thought about” says Steen. “There were drag queens and jobseekers; people who’ d been in bands, like Alabama3, The Ruts, and the bassist from Stiff Little Fingers – this older generation of people and they saw a kindred spirit in this little group of schoolkid runts.”Along with the Queen’ s head crew, The Fat Whites inspired and mentored them. “In a sea of mundanity the Fat Whites were exciting and dangerous,” says Steen. “It was like watching chaos explode in front of you.”As their foothold in the South London scene grew, shame instigated the daredevil club night, Chimney Shitters and creating a politically outspoken, DIY ethos reflecting a punk spirit in today’ s world.

“We are not puppets. Everything we do, we do ourselves,” says former Camberwell student, Steen. “From our songs to our clothes to the artwork for the singles, T-shirts, and fanzines. It’ s all us. We are about creating a movement - it’ s all our blood, sweat and tears.”shame’ s music is controversial, challenging, political and often unprintable. Visa Vulture (written two years ago) is a vicious indictment of Theresa May wrapped up in a happy love song. ‘ Gold Hole’ is a satire of rock narcissism, while ‘ Tasteless’ is about “Living in a world where nobody dares to say anything or do anything different.”.

But to be ‘ shamed’ you have to see them live. Their appearance at The Great Escape last May so knocked out the editor of French magazine ‘ Les Inrockuptibles’ that he penned a two-page eulogy prompting a wave of shamemania –a performance at Pitchfork Paris and on Le Grand Journal TV show in the slot usually reserved for the likes of Taylor Swift or Kanye West. A sign of how fast they are steaming their way to the top is this. Last year they gate-crashed Glastonbury (“It was insane, says guitarist Coyle Smith. “We got the directions wrong and ended up walking miles round the perimeter with our instruments before we found the right hole in the fence”) this year they have been invited to play by Billy Bragg on the Leftfield stage.

With a UK headline tour under their belt, 40-odd festivals this summer, their first album is being produced by Local Hero, aka Dan Foat and Nathan Boddy best known for techno music and work with James Blake. “As soon as we met them, it clicked,” says Steen. “They had ideas that a stereotypical person producing a guitar band might not necessarily think of. And we never want to be predictable. We always want to do something unexpected.”

They Hate Change

In 1984 RUN DMC's Joseph "Run" Simmons was asked by the host of Soul Train what he sees as "the future of rap music." His response, which comes without a moment's pause, is both cryptic and prescient, "See people wanna know what rap music is. The only thing rap music is - there is no music to rap. We just rap over whatever we want. The only thing rap about rap music is the rap. We can rap over rock. We can rap over jazz." The host - a bit baffled but smooooth - attempts to summarize Run's remarks: "So the answer to the question is: The rap itself will dictate the future of rap music."

In the near 30 years since that Soul Train appearance, hip-hop has become, perhaps, one of the last true avant-garde art forms, one that is constantly evolving. Across the globe - from ‘Life of Pablo''s post-release editing process to Atlanta's wild, serpentine trap scene to South London's inspired and jarring drill and grime - it is reborn endlessly and boundlessly into new forms. Now, get ready to hear from the next evolution of rap: Tampa wildasses, They Hate Change.

It makes complete sense that when asked about their elastic, exuberant and rather thrilling hip-hop, They Hate Change immediately points to that 1984 Soul Train interview. You see, Dre (27, he/him) and Vonne (27, they/them) are exactly what Run was suggesting in his answer. Rap will decide what rap is, not the beat beneath it. Dre and Vonne will not be defined. They're anglophiles who reference drum-n-bass and... Chicago footwork - and then, spin it into clever-as-hell Florida party rap. They geek out on Drakes' fashion spreads and show up in vintage Nirvana tees on the cover of their EPs. They'll pull a Document magazine off the shelf in one moment and an autographed chillwave 12" from 2010 the very next. They're as likely to enthuse over a new West Coast emo band as they are a good breakbeat. And when Dre and Vonne run these myriad influences through the They Hate Change supercomputer, the output stands shoulder to shoulder with any of today's exciting, most forward-thinking rap.

Building upon their brilliant 2020 GODMODE EP 666 Central Ave. comes "Faux Leather '' their first single released on Jagjaguwar and a scathing lambasting of the modern music industry (guilty, sorry!), luxury brands and patience in one's ascent. In the great tradition of rap, they're punching up like Little Mac and taking on some true giants. Over a melting digital production that sounds like robotrippin' AI, the whole affair is courageous in its irreverence. It's joyous but with serious teeth. It's kinetic and confident. Upon hearing 666 Central Ave. THC became a fast obsession at JAG HQ (or whatever Zoom/Slack hybrid version of an HQ we operated under in 2020) and we were soon falling for Dre and Vonne themselves. They're truly capital h Heads and their exuberance was fully contagious.

Dre and Vonne first met as 14 years olds at the apartment complex in which they both happened to reside. Dre had just moved to Tampa from New York. "I ran up on him to sell bad weed," Vonne said. Soon, they were shooting hoops in the same friend groups and hitting local jook functions. But unlike the rest of their friends, Dre and Vonne were going a layer deeper. "If it was music, we were going down to the liner notes. If it was sneakers, we knew it down to the design references." Inspired by regional krank and jook scenes, and their elders like Tampa Tony and Tom G, Dre and Vonne started making their own music. Their first gigs as MCs - when they were around 21 - were on porches and in skate shops. "Nobody locally was doing Future into DJ Rashad; Footwork into Ghettohouse," they said, recalling those early days. Across releases on the great Deathbomb Arc and GODMODE, their confidence, irreverence and full creative command have only grown in power. Now, we enter the next era of They Hate Change.

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First Unitarian Church

2125 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Organizer R5 Productions

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