Basement @ Bush Hall – 02.03.17.

Fresh after signing a record deal with pop/rock fore-runners Fueled by Ramen, this Ipswich outfit had a point to prove – and some questions to answer.

Alongside announcing their affiliation with Fueled by Ramen, Basement revealed that they will be releasing a re-mastered “deluxe” edition of their acclaimed 2016 effort “Promise Everything”. This surprise announcement was spearheaded by the band premiering the title track in its newly refurbished state on their YouTube channel.

The reception received by Basement can only be regarded as mixed. Many fans were impressed by the undeniable improvement in production value displayed and argued that the act of “Promise Everything” being cleaned up (so to speak) is a statement of intent from the lads – the determination to ensure that their artistic output is as refined and polished as possible shows maturity and growth in a young band full of aspiration. On the other hand, several fans were left feeling dejected by the brand new, squeaky clean sound that Basement were debuting. Some feel as though the punky, rough-around-the-edges vibe is what identifies the band as a force to be reckoned with. The habitual angst that usually flows naturally through lead vocalist Andrew Fisher’s vocals are what define the sound of the band and many noted that these values were lost in the re-mastering. Unfortunately, it is hard to ignore the notion that “Promise Everything” v.2 lacks the emotional evocation that Basement’s discography is riddled with, which is a shame. That being said – we should certainly suspend our judgement and wait and see what this deluxe album offers as a whole. There is no reason that this couldn’t be the making of Basement and perhaps, a more accomplished sounding record will be enough to propel them into the proverbial mainstream.

All that aside, there is no denying that Basement are on the up. Tickets for their 2 nights at Shepherds Bush’s quaint venue Bush Hall absolutely flew out and many fans were left scouring the depths of the internet trying to get their hands on spare tickets. Fortunately for those who didn’t succeed in the first wave – the band had little choice but to announce a third consecutive show to satisfy this overwhelming demand. This show also sold out. Quickly.

Thus, the hype was real and fans were pumped to witness the suitably rejuvenated five-piece tear the roof off one of London’s more bijou venues. We were greeted with a trademark Basement performance of loud guitars, thumping drums and pulsating basslines. If there were any concerns regarding the potential watering-down of their sound, they were soon shattered by the sheer conviction in the live renditions of a hit-heavy catalogue. What I found particularly encouraging about this particular Basement show (having seen them a few times in the past) was the fact that the band genuinely appeared to enjoy playing their music. Subtleties such as James (drums) sharing a cheeky giggle with Alex (guitars) after he fluffed a beat and Andrew’s juvenile amazement at seeing a crowd bounce to his music are both signs of a band with authentic chemistry. When you possess this combination of chemistry, innate talent and desire to strive in a competitive industry the you can surely only improve as a band.

Hats off to Basement for a thoroughly enjoyable, intimate show and we wish them the best of luck in their upcoming ventures.

4.5/5 Bytes.

Aaron Jackson.

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