Archive for June, 2011

Heaven’s Basement & Jettblack @ The Underworld

Tonight’s show completes a trio of Heaven’s Basement shows witnessed by the doesitrock.net crew here in this great north London venue. After numerous lineup changes they seem to have finally settled into a new groove, one we hope will spin for a long time to come. Will this be third time lucky?

Once thing which can be said of all of their gigs here, the line-up’s have all brimmed with underground rock promise. The first band to hit up tonight’s stage was Earth Prayer. They  played radio friendly rollin’ stone style rock with bluesy guitar melodies and a female vocalist providing a soulful touch. Their songs were tidy and enjoyable, but they lacked any passion beyond that for retro rock n’ roll. With the rising success of similar bands such as St. Jude, Earth Prayer will have to improve quickly to keep up with the pack.

Earth Prayer

As the second band took to the stage, I couldn’t help but feel like I had seen this all before and I wasn’t about to enjoy what I was about to hear. After recovering from my déjà vous moment of mental regression, it quickly became apparent that sleaze rockers Dear Superstar had well and truly upped their game! Beefier rhythm’s and a greater focus on melody over attitude, this was a unexpected surprise of a set. They were at their best on newer material which made use of gang vocals and backed chorus’s to create bigger and more anthemic tunes. Their guitars scuzzed out plenty of dirty riffs, dueling licks and even the lead singer had become less in your face, and more likeable for it. With new material dropping soon, it may be time to give them a well earned second chance.

Dear Superstar

If the last band had doused some sleaze, the next band up and co-headliners Jettblack cranked it right back up again. Only difference is they play it in the tried and tested 80’s metal formula as perfected by Motley Crue. It could not fail to be great! Silly machismo lyrics (track names say it all, “Two Hot Girls“,”Get Your Hands Dirty” & “Mother Fucker“), laddish half naked posing, poodle perms all added to icing to their hard rock cake. If it wasn’t for their knack for writing cracking melodies, chunky riffs and nailing some awe inspiring 80’s guitar shreds they would sink like every other tribute band gone original.

Jettblack

As it was, this was a great little set of jubilant hi-five rocking anthems not to sing to your girlfriend! Special mentions need to be aired for the superb (if a tad scripted) guitar shred battle between lead guitarist and vocalist, and their set closing cover of the classic top gun anthem, Danger Zone…Maverick would have been down the front pumping his fist too.

After a turbulent period of departures and arrivals, you feel the new look Heaven’s Basement are settled and are here to stay., So it was with great apprehension that we stood and waited as the  music making trio appeared, leaving us all a little while longer, before finally catching a first glimpse of new full time singer, Aaron Buchannan. The suspense worked to their advantage and riding the initial screams Aaron launched into the title tune of their latest EP Unbreakable. The thundering guitars and rampaging riffs were kick ass, even if they did somewhat overwhelm the vocals at first.

Heaven’s Basement

With a new found vigor and sense of urgency they ran through some old classic tunes such as Can”t Let Go and Tear Your Heart Out. It’s after this I felt a comparison could finally be made on the vocals. Personally, I liked them! Despite often being dwarfed by HB’s monstrous melodies he always remained in tune and remained a lively presence at stage centre throughout. Although I’m not a fan of his dance moves, his signature move looks rather like a snake being charmed. His hunger and exuberance cannot be faulted, one feels he will only improve as his confidence grows. Tonight’s fine performance is a perfect platform to build on.

Aaron

With the impending new release we were treated to their first ‘actual’ new material, for quite a while. Leeches was a big rocking number with a scuzzy chorus, Paranoia now sung by guitarist Sid Glover and Let Me Out Of Here. The latter signals their first real foray into the rocky minefields of balladry, one they have traversed masterfully, retaining the epic chorus’s without going soppy. Sid’s guitar work here is especially great with a darker outlook through the deep brooding blues licks and wailing high bends.

Returning to live favourites Reign On My Parade and Executioners Day, the night rounded out with these stunning rockers. I command anybody not to bounce around like a crazed loony when the guitar’s kick back in again after Executioners hazy bridge interlude reaches its almighty crescendo.

Tonight was about the new look Heaven’s Basement and whether they can live up to the promise of those who have fallen by the wayside. I’m happy to report the future is bright, but there is a little way to go yet but there’s no doubt that these guys will go from strength to strength!

Death From Above 1979 @ The Forum

6th May 2011

Noisey/Dance Punk duo Death From Above 1979 are back!

After a 5 year hiatus, tonight was the night of the long awaited (and unexpected) return to the live circuit for the first of their two night stand in the Kentish town Forum. From the doors opening, a stampede of eager fans bulked out the venue giving a great chance for a support band to make a name for themselves.

After missing out on Young Legionnaire, we squeezed ourselves in to catch the second act Jamaica. This electro guitar band’s melodies few and far between, they lacked any bass slapping gusto or dance fever to ignite their tunes. It was really very ordinary and failed to make even the slightest impression on our resident dance muso The Docktor. An opportunity well and truly spurned.

Jamaica

As the moment of arrival drew ever closer, so did the crowd…intimate is not a word I would usually associate with The Forum, but tonight you could barely move. Cue the smoke machines and madness ensued as those first distinctive Death From Above 1979 fuzzy bass lines were pummeled through our collective consciousness. Not that i could see anything mind you. In fact the crowd were torn in two, those wanting to get closer and those wanting to get away! With this in mind the enjoyment factor plummeted rapidly as small riots ensued and flailing arms met with chins while shoulders met with spines. Altogether an unpleasant experience (or I’m getting old)!

Death From Above 1979

It is no wonder then that I retreated to the relative safety of the first elevated tier to watch the rest of the set, yet I could still barely see them through the plumes of smoke. Somehow the monstrous bass and furious drumming was much louder in my expectations! They felt rather underpowered for a band who thrive on being louder than a jet engine at 20 paces. Certainly this was not the experience I had hoped for. Maybe it was wrong of me to heap so much promise on the show, what else would you expect if you hadn’t played for 5 years and only ever released one full LP clocking in at less than 40 minutes? They were most definitely road rusty.

Whether their decision to return was for artistic or personal or cough…cough…cash! It was clear that half the crowd loved every minute, while the others simply nodded along with a smug grim spelling out I.W.A.S.T.H.E.R.E.

DoesItRock.net? May Round-Up

After a months absence, the new music round-up is back and available for your listenign pleasure on Spotify!

Listen now >>> DoesItRock.net – May 11 Mix

1) Black Stone Cherry – White Trash Millionaire … The vocal wah makes a welcome return on BSC’s latest single, hard rock greatness!
2) Halestorm – Bad Romance … GaGa just got an ass kickin from Lzzy Hale’s amazing vocals. Rocked up this pop tune sounds amazing!
3) Art Brut – Axl Rose … Art Brut gets the Frank Black make-over, jury’s out on whether it suits.
4) The Computers – Music Is Dead … The Blues has gone punk in the hands of The Computers. A Rockin’ Riot!
5) And So I Watch You from Afar – Search:Party:Animal … Epic instrumental from this excilleratingly talented band.
6) Twin Atlantic – Crash Land … Softer moment from impressive debut album, Free.
7) Frank Turner – Shut The Chicken … A DIY ethos on this joyous smiley ditty, couldn’t fail to brighten your day.
8) Eureka Machines – These Are The People Who Live In My House … UK Band’s latest poppy rock single is a euphoric singalong affair.
9) You Animals – Halfway To Heartbreak … British indie rock upstarts play a great breed of infections riff fuelled pop punk.
10) Panic! At The Disco – The Ballad Of Mona Lisa … Less urgency in their progressing years, but still have an ear for a soaring chorus anthem.
11) Manchester Orchestra – Pensacola … Calculated and brilliantly writen indie rock, catchy and intelligent.
12) Young Legionnaire – Twin Victory … Fuzzier than a bear in a washing machine, taken from their muscular placebo-esque debut!
13) Amaranthe – Hunger … Cliched electro fused heavy metal, female vocals amd insistant vocals keep it fresh.
14) Clutch – Mercury … Riffmeisters re-release this utter corker.
15) Skindred – Warning … Reggae Heavy Metal, say no more.
16) Protest The Hero – C’est la Vie … Super technical metal. Fret blazing madness!
17) Okkervil River – Rider … US folkie’s return with this nice little tune.
18) Silverstein – Sacrifice … US Post-hardcore mainstays mix up breezy melodies and clean vocals with throaty howls and chugging guitars.
19) Unwritten Law – Superbad … Blues riff driven tune from this power pop bands latest LP Swans
20) Yellowcard – The Sound Of You And Me … A welcome return to form from this violin wielding pop punk band

Spotify Playlist

DoesItRock.net – May 11 Mix