Basement – Liverpool, UK (22nd August 2019)

With festival season now in full-swing, there is wealth of bands planning last-minute mini-tours, to ensure that they are ready for the music events of the summer. The beauty of these tours is that due to venue availability, bands often have to play venues and cities that they wouldn’t normally reach on a standard tour. Ahead of their Reading and Leeds sets this weekend, Basement head to Liverpool, to ensure they’re show-ready.

Before the headliners hit the stage, Honey Lung-as the only support act this evening-have the opportunity to showcase their material, and win over some new fans. The band’s brand of distorted dream-pop/indie isn’t out of place in the slightest. Honey Lung’s sound is reminiscent of ‘Peripheral Vision’ era Turnover, with some added bass, and heavier guitar distortion. While the pack of pop-punk bands, who tinged their songs with a 90’s grunge aesthetic and sound, have diversified into other textures and sounds over recent years; Honey Love would fit in with their scene perfectly. A quiet,assured confidence also goes some way to winning over the crowd, and ensuring Honey Love close the set with a few more friends than when they started.

As with the opening act, Basement, aesthetically and sonically resemble their contemporaries Balance and Composure, Turnover and Citizen. As 90’s gloom-grunge revivalists, it would be easy to expect a subdued stage presence. However, onstage, the band displays a surprising level of charisma and confidence.

Frontman Andrew Fisher bounds around the stage and moshes along almost as enthusiastically as the band’s most devoted fans. There’s even time for some indulgent air-guitar during some of the band’s fuzzy guitar solos. His on-stage personality has more in common with Neck Deep’s Ben Barlow than that of the bands he shares a subgenre with.

Getting the night started with ‘Disconnect’ from 2018’s ‘Beside Myself’, a number with a hugely sing-able chorus, ensures audience participation from the get-go. Following that the band bring out ‘Aquasun’; the biggest single from third album ‘Promise Everything’, and arguably their best known track. It’s certainly an ambitious move, but ensures that the audience stays excited.

Similarly, ‘Whole’-the opener to 2012’s ‘Colourmeinkindness’-is played in the first four songs of the set. A bombastic piece of sludgy alt-rock; it’s a bold decision for a band headlining their own show to make. However, as the band is going into a festival, and will need to showcase their best and brightest material, it’s an understandable move to make. ‘Whole’ is just the sort of track to generate enthusiastic moshing among neutral revelers stumbling across the band in the festival environment.

Tonight’s set is wide ranging, and all four Basement records are represented in some capacity. Even ‘crickets throw their voice’ from debut record ‘I Wish I could Stay Here’ makes an appearance.

It’s clear that Basement’s fandom love all of the band’s eras and albums equally. The excellent ‘Be Here Now’ from 2018’s ‘Beside Myself’ goes down equally well as ‘Spoiled’ from ‘colourmeinkindness’ . It’s equally apparent that the band are incredibly proud of their back catalogue, and love their old tracks as much as the new material.

A particular highlight from the set is ‘Pine’, whose ‘I don’t love you, I just need to be loved’ refrain draws one of the loudest singalongs of the night.

The set is quite short-coming in at only 45 minutes. However, as the band is playing Reading and Leeds over the bank holiday weekend, it’s understandable that they want to ensure that their set is match-fit and festival ready.

 The night is drawn to a close with ‘Promise Everything’ from the album of the same name. A fun slab of indie-grunge, with an oddly appropriate name. Basement’s festival performances, and future as scene figureheads show all the promise in the world. The future of this band should be very exciting indeed!