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HEAVENS BASEMENT @ THE STAR & GARTER, MANCHESTER 08/02/13 - REVIEW BY PHIL KING

 
Bands as good as Heaven’s Basement only come along every-so-often. Just a cursory listen to this band’s captivating debut album, Filthy Empire, reveals that Heaven’s Basement really are something very special. It’s an album that’s full to the brim with classic song writing that initially has its roots in the golden age of heavy rock, but still takes enough risks to give it a shiny metallic sheen of modernity.

Heaven’s Basement are known for their tireless touring ethic, and the guys are fresh from a few dates supporting Buckcherry in Canada, so it was with some surprise to see that for their latest visit to Manchester the band had were booked to play the small and cheerless Star and Garter. It’s often a measure of a band to see how they perform when the venue isn’t too good but on tonight’s showing it seem that the boys in Heaven’s Basement give their all no matter what the circumstances. Tonight Heaven’s Basement storm through a set that contains all but two tracks from their new album and each and every one of them is rendered with as much passion as the band can muster. They start with ‘Filthy Empires’ lead in track ‘Welcome Home’ which immediately stamps out its territory and is a clear statement of intent of how the rest of the evening will proceed.

From the off it’s clear that Heaven’s Basement’s sound is dominated by Sid Glover’s guitar which relentlessly propels the tunes along, especially on the very wonderful single ‘Fire, Fire’ which the crowd greets like a long lost fried. However that shouldn’t belittle the parts played by Chris Rivers and Rob Ellershaw – drums and bass respectively – who provide the solid bedrock from which Glover can work his magic. The final ingredient in the band’s perfect chemistry is singer Aaron Buchanan who commands the stage with real authority yet isn’t too proud to get down and dirty by indulging in a spot of stage diving into the outstretched arms of the crowd the band’s fans. 

As good as the album is, the recorded versions of the tracks doesn’t compare to the live renditions played tonight. There’s more power and urgency to the music and Buchanan vocal are stronger more insistent. Heaven’s Basement are a live band in every sense of the word. Towards the end of the set, singer Aaron bellows out ‘We Don’t Belong Here’, a lyric from ‘Nothing Left To Lose’. And it’s true, a band like Heaven’s Basement don’t belong on the tiny stage of the Star and Garter, but should playing in far bigger and better places.    

Setlist:

Welcome Home
Can't Let Go
Fire, Fire
I Am Electric
Unbreakable
Lights Out In London
Nothing Left To Lose
Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch
Jump Back
The Long Goodbye
Reign On My Parade
Executioners Day

Review by Phil King
Photos by Melanie Smith - wwmudkissphotography.co.uk

Video by Andrew Adams