Gig Review: Heaven’s Basement (The Croft, Bristol – Feb’ 13)

So apparently you’re supposed to take earplugs to gigs like this… I’m glad I didn’t. Loud, energetic, vocally flawless, intricate guitar riffs, hot, sweaty, intense and the odd sing-along – this is what a rock gig should be like. So what if my ears rung for days afterwards and everyone I spoke to sounded like they were under water? It was worth it. (Although it’s probably advisable to wear them). I’m not a musician myself and so it’s hard for me to put myself in the shoes of Aaron Buchanan and co, but I would guess that starting a UK tour on the day your debut album is released must feel pretty good. By the time the band arrived on stage after two fine performances from support acts Western Sand and Cage The Gods, the atmosphere in the tight-knit basement-like back room at The Croft was electric. Heaven's BasementFor many of the band’s fans it would be the first time that they’d hear the lion’s share of new material played live. Less than 30 seconds into their opening track “Welcome Home” it was obvious that disappointment wasn’t on the night’s agenda. Loud, in your face with quick tempo lyrics complemented with slowed down epic choruses, it was a fitting opener. It was clear that this band lives for the live performance and when on stage they’re clearly at home. I’d speculate that the excitement roused by the significance of the date fuelled the adrenalin pumped hour-long performance in which the band hammered out songs from ‘Filthy Empire’ (one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in years) and their ‘Unbreakable’ EP. For me the new material was flawless, performed with precision by a relatively young band that was tighter than many who had been performing before the members were born. “Fire, Fire”, perhaps their most recognised track due to widespread airplay, was performed with outrageous confidence while the brilliant “Nothing Left To Lose” and “Lights Go Out In London” were other songs which had ‘future epic’ written all over them. The pulsating new single “I Am Electric” was equally as stunning. “Unbreakable” from their EP of the same title delighted fans who have been there from the start, while their closing track “Executioner’s Day” rounded off a performance which was pretty damn special. The band were on it when it came to audience interaction with frontman Aaron Buchanan coming across as being genuinely gracious towards the 100+ crowd that had packed into the venue. Moments of banter, bonding and crowd surfing strengthened the rapport and inevitably a mosh pit broke out. It was everything a rock gig should be and more. In my view Heaven’s Basement pulled out a performance nothing short of impeccable on what was the biggest day of their career to date. Notably for me it was great to see that no egos were on show. Aaron, Rob, Chris and Sid jumped off stage at the end and received compliments, applause and pats on the back as they exited through the same door as the fans before chatting in the bar with the punters who had supported them. Genuine gentleman and a phenomenal live show – they deserve the plaudits, they deserve the success. Find out more about the band on their official website