First thing that should be said is the band attracted a decent sized crowd for a gig on a Tuesday night in a small town like Rugby. No small part of this is probably due to the considerable amount of exposure the band is receiving in the music press recently (and the number of photographers at the gig was noticeable). It was interesting that the crowd consisted of a wide variety of ages. This may suggest a wide appeal or alternatively a lack of a targeted market which may cause marketing problems longer term.
Visually the band are also a mixed lot with the drummer appearing topless from the start (yes, he is male!) which was probably wise given the aggression with which he drums in each song. The guitarist is a rocker, faintly similar to Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme fame. The bassist has more of a greaser look going on. Finally, the front man actually reminded me of Toby Young of Little Angels for the older reader, or, as a more recent reference, a better looking Justin Hawkins from The Darkness!
The band hit the stage showing plenty of confidence and aggression with the first song "Welcome Home". From this opening song it is clear that one big advantage the band have is strong vocals, not only from the lead singer, but also throughout the band. This really allows the choruses to hit home in the live environment. During the course of the gig it is apparent that the band have some quality tunes. This includes the next two songs "The long goodbye" and "Fire, Fire" . The first of these actually commences with an opening that recalls LA Guns and on " Fire,Fire" we see the front man throwing some Axle Rose style sounds. The mid break in Fire is also very effective, although somewhat strangely had echoes of Boston's "More Than A Feeling".
Some of the songs tend to veer to just straightforward Heavy Rock and don't have the subtlety or melody of the other tunes. However, the reaction of the audience to the tracks such as "I Am Electric, and "Execution Day" suggest that they are more than happy to just jump and shake their hair to these tracks. The stronger songs of the night, however, are those where the band are willing to allow more melody and stronger choruses to emerge. Admittedly this then suggests a more retro feel and perhaps the band are trying to move away from the association with a return to an 80's sound. The song "Nothing to Lose" is a good demonstration of this, it has a great chorus and is really effective the way the guitarist and vocalist swap lines on the verse. Similarly "Jump Back" is a really good rock n roll song. The sing along chorus and melody also help to lighten the atmosphere and get the crowd dancing. It would be good to see the band embrace these influences more, rather than perhaps trying to ape some other more modern bands. These songs and the likes of "Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch" don't just sound like some of the throw away 80's sound but are more akin to a band like Skid Row., which is no bad thing.
Overall, a gig like this is a great test of a bands credentials as it would be easy to struggle to get a reaction at a small mid week gig such as this. On this occasion, however, Heavens Basement demonstrated that they are a hard working band who managed to end the set with a large percentage of the crowd enjoying a mosh pit - and that must be a sign of a successful night's work!Review by Paul Hastins