December 18th 2009
Heavens Basement, Dear Superstar, New Device @ Underworld, Camden
Note: I wrote this before the news of Richies Hevanz departure from the band and thought it should be published as it was intended!
Heaven’s Basement are finally on the road to success. In the space of 3 months since their show at Bridgehouse2 they have recruited a new bassist and been out on tour supporting Papa Roach. Word has clearly got out of their amazing live shows (of which they have performed 125 already this year). The result? A queue for tickets stretching out on the frozen streets of Camden Town.
Descending in the decedent Camden Underworld venue which was filling up nicely at this early hour, we headed for the stage in order to catch the first band who have recently signed to Classic Rock magazines own Powerage record label. With the record deal already in the bag and debut album on they shelves, they have come a long way in a short time, but now having seen them play I understand why.
New Device are a band steeped in 80’s stadium rock influences with elements of Bon Jovi’s insanely catchy melodies (In The Fading Light ) and Motley Crue’s harder edged riffing (Make My Day). Each tune was great start to finish with a hefty classic rock Les Paul/Gibson sound and a lead guitarist to do the combo proud. Other songs to watch out for include Until The End (which sounds an awful lot like Bon Jovi’s Raise Your Hands), the drum stomping On Fire and the guitar wailing Takin’ Over. lead singer Daniel Leigh (who was seriously suffering from illness tonight, but still giving it his all despite rasping vocal torture) sings, “We Are The New Device, Were Takin’ Over”. With performances like this I’m inclined to believe them on both counts!
Next up were the boys of Dear Superstar who took the trip underground to strut the Camden stage. This is where they belong, in a dark and enclosed space where nobody will bother them, as tonight they failed to make any impression other than distaste. Noisy metal riffing was good in parts like on poppier number Brothers In Blood but sadly the lead guitar lines failed to ignite that elusive spark. The vocalists attempts at being a sleaze rock and roller succeeded only in being incredibly annoying, if he put as much effort into his singing ability as he does into pulling faces, Dear superstar would be better for it. The icing on their cake was a cover version of the kinks classic Lola, rehashed as a sleazy gutter thrash-metal outpouring of plunderous noise. It sounded just as bad as you imagine, trust me!
The full complement of Heaven’s Basement band members lined up to the crowd tonight and wasted no time in ploughing out their classic rock influenced rock and roll. New bassist Rob fit straight into the line-up nicely as their performance of their first track Tear Your Heart Out displayed a much heftier sounding band, brimming with confidence. This confidence flowed throughout the whole performance with a titan sized stage presence and outstanding vocals from front man Richie Hevanz.
HB were back doing what they love to do, laying down cracking melodies intertwined with soaring guitar riffs backed with infectious sing-a-long chorus’. Terrific songs aplenty such as Graduation and Reign On My Parade with their immensely catchy rousing chorus, Can’t Let Go’s outstanding vocal harmonies complete with plenty of woo-oh-oh-oh-oh’s.
They shook things up a little tonight testing out some new material which was promising, but yet I feel have a little bit of polishing to do before they can count them as the finished article. This included a song sung by rhythm guitarist Johnny Rocker who you can tell is not the most confident, neither the greatest vocalist but he managed to pull off an entertaining tune admirably.
Johnny Rocker on Vocals
Where they excelled themselves this evening was the reworked version of their early demo song Mirrors. They managed to turn this potent rocker into an slow burning introspective ballad, with honest lyrics addressing image consciousness. “No they’re never gonna stop, Trying to make you someone that you’re not, They will make you question your reflection, Take it or leave it…..Don’t ever believe in the mirrors” swoons Heavanz pouring an emotionally charged heart into each word. This outstanding song was a great surprise, one which was greeted with much admiration from this onlooker.
The band at their brilliant best arrived on farewell track Executioner’s Day rapid fire lyrics, a racing bass line and a fiery guitar lick reaches its bursting point at the chorus where Heavenz unleashes his vocal talent leading a leading a mass of crowd voices singing it right back at him. The extended laid back atmospheric interlude is brought back from lulling subtlety into an epic building riff crescendo complete with fiery guitar solo.
Sid and Johnny
It’s this superb song craft which stands Heavens Basement out from the crowd and it’s what will propel them forwards in years to come. They are out on tour again in February so get your tickets now, you will not regret it!