The Buzzcocks played their first gig supporting The Sex Pistols in Manchester in 1976; this is a fact that has
remained in the band’s bio for many years. Some 40-odd years later Shanghai Treason played their first gig
supporting Buzzcocks at Gorilla in Manchester, a fact that will no doubt remain in Shanghai Treason’s bio for many years too.
“Tonight’s openers are Shanghai Treason who rip through a superset of folk-tinged punk rock. Punk with a banjo, an accordion. It works. Their set is fast, powerful, melodic and catchy. It’s too short but then they say this is their first gig so it’s understandable they don’t have a huge back catalogue. It’s hard to believe this is their debut considering how tight, how professional this bunch of youngsters from South Yorkshire prove to be.” Urbanista Magazine
Around the same time, Shanghai Treason released their first single ‘Devil’s Basement’ which quickly
rocketed past 40k hits on Facebook. Thanks in many ways to being championed by the likes of London Celtic Punks, Celtic Punkcast, MacSlon’s Radio and many more.
“Fast paced Punk-Rock with some of the best banjo you’ll hear this side of the Atlantic.” – London Celtic Punks
A two-part UK tour followed where the band made their first tentative steps onto the national scene, playing
shows in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, York and more. This included the band’s
first sizeable local headline show at Corporation in Sheffield; where much to the band’s amusement, gig posters had quite literally been plastered on every lamp-post in the city.
“Sheffield’s Shanghai Treason were loud and proud, banjo suggesting a Men They Couldn’t Hang meets Pogues vibe, while the singer seemed to bring a hard rock element to proceedings. Either way, they impressed, the determined playing and passion for their craft ensuring the crowd were on their side throughout.” writewyattuk.com
Shanghai Treason’s second single ‘Drowning Heart’ helped to cement a loyal local following who’ve
seldom missed a gig since those early shows and now the band are looking to further expand on this with their latest offering ‘Can’t Even Hang A Man Right’.
“I wrote the lyrics about Brexit” muses singer Sam Christie “I, like many people, was surprised at how easily those in power at the time built a national narrative around what seemed to me to be such a self-destructive idea. Then they made such a hash of it and it dragged on forever. I remember thinking ‘bloody hell… these lot couldn’t even hang a man right’ ”
Guitarist Tom Jackson adds: “This is absolutely one of my favourite Shanghai Treason songs. We’ve been playing this song fairly early on in the set at the shows up to now, and after the 4 count when this kicks in the room explodes and we let people know that we’re here and we mean business.”
So there you have it. A song written about Brexit but released during the coronavirus pandemic; when the
country is finally rallying together after a turbulent number of years. Let’s hope we’ve seen the back of
sleight of hand dirty politics from Westminster and the beginning of something else but as the lyrics suggest “You can’t trust the rats by the river.”
Check out their tune on the RGM Spotify playlist