Live: Heaven’s Basement @ The Waterfront, Norwich (02/07/2013)

Heaven's Basement gig ticket


Heaven’s Basement

Buffalo Summer – Skarlett Riot

“That’s the last two,” says the man behind the desk. Here’s hoping there aren’t any more in the queue who need tickets tonight. It’s official then, Heaven’s Basement have sold out the Waterfront studio, Norwich. Shrug it aside as not much of a feat if you will, but nights usually don’t come much slower than Tuesdays in this town.

Bouncing in to an is-it-ironic intro of Dizzee Rascal, Skarlett Riot (4/10) are everything their name suggests. Female singer – so now to wonder if Skarlett, with its kooky spelling, is her name or a grandmother/best friend/pet/or confused brother… and oh look she has a guitar. Not that it’s easy to tell as the mix is all drums to start. Disappointingly she ditches it one song in so now it feels like a this-will-be-good gimmick dreamed up one day in the practice room. Even if it isn’t. I hate to draw the Paramore comparisons so early, but there’s definitely a vocal similarity to be argued. She can give it some welly though and props for that sneaky power clench. Got to love a power clench. The final song perhaps sums it up best though, she’s got her guitar back, it’s the heaviest yet, there’s even some growly backing vocals – and yet their own bassist can’t look anything but bored. Would it be rude to say that they could be Kerrang darlings? At least they’d have a centrefold poster sorted.

It’s a night for two-word band names it seems. Buffalo Summer (8/10) though, bring a fucking tambourine so we’re sold. Theirs is some old school grooving, with the shirts to match, that brings to mind The Answer or Black Country Communion if they were doing the rounds in the 1970s. Which some of BCC were. The small studio setting suits Buffalo Summer as it really feels like they are having a ruddy good jam and we all just happened to walk in and gawp. Whilst the guitarist’s mic swings in runaway circles on its stand, the band launch into a track that feels like a slowed down AC/DC hook, and yet another solo that will be just as tasty reheated in the morning. Which is good because I think several here will be doing just that come breakfast time.

What is certain is that everyone here, is here for Heaven’s Basement (9/10) – the supports just got lucky. This is sweat-buckets rock n roll, which is just as well cause the Waterfront is dripping tonight. First you think, this is a bit like Airbourne – done British, and then you wonder when such thinking first began moving down the chain given that Airbourne themselves are compared to AC/DC. But Heaven’s Basement don’t want you thinking that way, they want you to be thinking ‘this is Heaven’s Basement’. And they’ll lob drumsticks at you till you do.

Even their ‘ballad’ doesn’t come quietly as the sound crashes out of the amps and the groove plain slides off the guitars. Guess that’ll be the sweat again. What isn’t as successful is their somewhat stupid incitement of crowd surfing in a venue that has barely room for a cat’s paw between crowd and stage, but someone rolling over the barrier was expected at some point.

Either it’s encore time already or they’ve just fucked off, which would be new. Heaven’s Basement make their last one a belter though, and there’s even a touch of pit action down the front. Whilst way out in the back it’s nice to see that there are still crowds where individuals are completely lost under the music’s spell. Aaron Buchanan finishes this by not crowd surfing, but crowd walking, each leg grasped by the hands that have barely dropped all night.

So they finish six minutes early… we’ll let you off Heaven’s Basement. This time we’ll let you off.

Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Freelance writer. Most likely found in a mosh pit. Or maybe Bat Country.

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