Basement @ O2 Institute, 20th November 2018

Opening the sold out show on Tuesday evening was the Australian Ecca Vandal, a female singer supported in the live environment by a full backing band. Perhaps a strange choice as opening support for a rock band, this was reflected in the cold reception from the audience. Drawing up comparisons to perhaps a No Doubt era Gwen Stefani, the singer soldiered through her half hour set to make way for a much more suited support act.

California indie rock band Joyce Manor were clearly in a stronger position than their predecessors upon taking to the stage ahead of the evening’s headliners. Having been named on the bill for most of the time that tickets had been on sale, the band clearly had a number of fans at the show for them specifically. The band’s short songs allowed them to cram a large number of songs into a 40 minute set, and clearly turned a number of heads to those who weren’t familiar with the band.

After releasing arguably one of the albums of the year in fourth record ‘Beside Myself’, Basement found themselves playing a sold out show at the O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham on Tuesday evening.

Having recently been signed to Fueled By Ramen, the band have taken on a new lease of life to expose themselves to a much larger audience, which is no bad thing at all. The evening’s show allowed the band to explore various moments from their career from newer tracks such as ‘Be Here Now’ all the way back to ‘Crickets Throw Their Voice’, backed by a terrific light show aided by mirrors spread out across the stage.

But it’s not just from a visual stand point that the show was impressive, but from an audio perspective the band sounded as energetic and tight as ever, with lead vocalist Andrew Fisher sounding as good as, if not better than on record. Tracks from second record ‘colourmewithkindness’ arguably got the biggest reaction of the evening, with ‘Whole’ and ‘Covet’ seeing arms and bodies flailing over the crowd and barrier.

Returning for an encore, the band decided to treat the crowd to an acoustic rendition of ‘Changing Lanes’ before the ending duo of ‘Stigmitata’ and ‘Promise Everything’ sent the crowd into predictable chaos.

I’m not sure where it was within their career, but somewhere along the line Basement have managed to transition from an alternative rock band to a mainstream rock band whilst maintaining all credibility and artistic merit. And for that they should be most applauded and rewarded.

Reviewer: Dan Earl

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