It's always nice to see a venue that screams out it's identity the second you walk in. There's not many places that greet you with a framed lurid yellow suit as worn by one of Showaddywaddy, but then again there's not many places where the walls are lined with artwork and guitars signed by the likes of The Rolling Stones, My Chemical Romance, Rush and Aerosmith. If there was actually a garden this place would be incredibly well named. Despite the lack of shrubbery it's a nice, open club that actually sells you beer cheaper than the surrounding pubs, which is a nice trick that whoever runs the Astoria could learn from.
For those not in the know, Heaven's Basement are the band formally known as Roadstar, who were themselves the band formally known as Hurricane Party. This name change, however, is due to the fact that Heaven's Basement is for all intents and purposes a completely new band, and anyone expecting tracks from Roadstar will not be a happy bunny. The evening doesn't start too well as the sound engineer hired for the night seems to be a bit, well, shit. The band aren't too happy and he is shown the door, leaving some bodies from support act Millennium Child to deliver a surprisingly competent turn behind the desk. With fingers crossed and snake hips primed, Heaven's Basement decide to just go for it.
It's not a long set, as all the songs are pretty much fresh out of the brainbox, but there's not many who can say it's not a success. The stage is small, the lighting minimal, but the band are simply awesome. Singer Richie Heavens (he of the basement) has been praised many times for his natural ability and it's easy to see why. Blessed with a perfect rock voice he seems to channel bits of Jim Morrison and Steven Tyler, only to twist them with a slice of Welshness and a heap of attitude. Behind and beside him, the band are tighter than guitarist Jonny's jeans, throwing rock poses about with such abandon it would make David Coverdale proud. It helps, of course, that the songs that the band have written since their rebirth are superb. The likes of “Mirrors”, “Graduation”, never Write A Love Song” and “Sacrifice” are good, honest rockers with melody up the wazoo. There's not a large crowd, but those that attend are all crowded up against the stage having a whale of a time. The energy and excitement remind me of watching Airbourne the other month in an even smaller venue, with both bands being possessed of both raw talent and an abundance of energy. The best is saved til the end, with the future anthem “Executioner's Day” marking out it's territory with one of the best solos I've heard for many a year, sandwiched in between some monster riffage. I could watch this band every night for a week (and some fans are doing just that) and not tire of them. Put the word out, because Heaven's Basement are gonna be hotter than Hell.
Tear Your Heart Out