Heavens Basement @ Leeds Cockpit 16/03/14 ★★★★☆

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The opening horror soundtrack uncoils itself around the tunnel-like room of The Cockpit as the crowd scuttle forward to catch a glimpse of The Dirty Youth.

TDY photoIt is difficult to tell whether the crowd are there for headliners Heavens Basement, or hardcore support act Glamour Of The Kill, as The Dirty Youth have a pretty fierce fan base of their own.

No strangers to live performances, the five piece cram themselves on stage with an obvious sense of determination. Opening for rock band Heavens Basement cannot be an easy task for any man, but flame haired Danni Monroe takes on the challenge with graceful ease.

A mixture of adventurous hairstyles teamed with their theatrical sound makes it difficult not to compare them to Paramore. Which as comparisons go, could be a considerable amount worse.

“We’d like to walk you all to the church of The Dirty Youth. We sell good health, love and maybe a t-shirt.” This is one type of church that the crowd are only too eager to get down on their knees and worship at.

Despite only owning the stage for a short thirty minutes, TDY complete their set in full force, marking themselves as one to keep an eye on in the future.
1470323_10153592266470455_679531961_n“And on the seventh day, God created Yorkshire” screams Glamour Of The Kill’s frontman, Davey Richmond, to a chorus of cheers from the patriotic Leeds crowd.

The York based band are currently joining Heavens Basement on their ‘Welcome Home’ tour and for the hardcore poster boys, it is a warm welcome home indeed.

Having previously been deemed as ‘one of the UK’s brightest young hopes’ by Kerrang!, it has created quite a high expectation, and one in which the band manage to reach standing on their tippy toes.

The lads dive headfirst into the first track ‘Break’ which is also the first track off their latest album ‘Savages’ and they do not disappoint. Davey’s pussycat vocals coupled with the bottomless screams of lead guitarist Mike Kingswood get the crowd into full swing and by their second song ‘Purity’, a circle pit of acne-ridden teenagers and balding middle-aged men has already taken shape, much to GOTK’s delight.

The unconditional relationship between GOTK and their fans is undeniable. As the crowd submerse themselves beneath the tidal waves of deafeningly relentless riffs and brutal breakdowns, the band themselves only bounce back off the crowd’s reaction and put even more into their performance.

But it’s not only the fans that hold a close relationship with the band. Davey takes a minute out to pull on our heartstrings by getting the hometown crowd to sing happy birthday to his dear old mother, Mandy.

The band also treat us to a new song ‘Live For The Weekend’ which seems slightly ironic considering the gig is on a miserable Sunday night before the dreaded Monday morning haze, but their performance gives off the atmosphere of that Friday night feeling. Proving that if there’s one thing GOTK can make you do, it’s forget about where you are, as their music transports you to a place you’ll definitely want to visit again.
By this point. heavens-basement-announce-headline-uk-tour-for-march-2014the crowd are eagerly anticipating the headlining act Heavens Basement. Like ravenous wolves stalking out their prey, they wait restlessly to devour the four piece.

However, it is Heavens Basement that chew up the crowd, spit them out and leave their remains for the dogs as frontman Aaron Buchanan runs on the stage, closely followed by guitarist Sid Glover, bassist Rob Ellershaw and drummer Chris Rivers to an eruption of screams and cheers.

The strobe lighting effect floods across the crowd to portray a sea of bras, beards and band t-shirts as the band bounce across the stage in an animated fashion.

As a frontman, Aaron delivers. More than delivers, he hands it to you through express mail, on time and watches as you open the parcel off Heavens Basement that they personally addressed to you. Not only do his vocals send shivers down spines, his charisma, stamina and enviable golden curls combined make for the flawless frontman. Aaron Buchanan is one of a kind.

Any other four piece would have the center-of-attention, all-eyes-on-me type of frontman, the laid back bassist sulking in the shadows, the guitarist taking no credit for his finger blasting riffs and the drummer…well…hitting things. Not Heavens Basement. Each member is equally as vital and as present as the next. Combine Aaron’s showmanship and impressive vocal abilities with that of Sid’s sensational guitar playing as his fingers move across the fret at the speed of light. Alongside bassist Rob’s uncanny resemblance to the Tasmanian devil.  He darts across the stage as he rips The Cockpit a new one with his heavy bass riffs, all the while dedicatedly singing every lyric back to the crowd as if his next meal depended on it. That is, of course, presuming that his vocal abilities are slightly more comprehensible than that of the childhood cartoon. It is no wonder the HB perform so tight and in sync with each other with Rivers as their drummer. His constant interaction with the band does not go unnoticed and he doesn’t miss a beat, not even when he stands up to high five Rob halfway through a song.

For their track ‘Jump Back’ Aaron does in fact, just that. He walks all over the crowd in a Jesus-walking-on-water type fashion, and HB’s loyal disciples are only too happy to support him as they eagerly hold up their sweaty palms, waiting for Aaron to walk all over them (and that’s not something that the people of Leeds usually comply to).

Amongst the midst of the heavier songs, including ‘Fire Fire’ ‘I Am Electric’ and ‘Heart Breaking Son Of A Bitch’ to name a few, the band take a few minutes to prove that they are so much more than a throat-burning, guitar thrashing rock band, as they perform the slower, more melodic ‘The Price We Pay’.

Ah yes, now for the encore. That part of the show where the audience hover nervously, ensure as to whether the band will return. Well, they were forgetting one thing. Heavens Basement always return.

This time, and what proves to be Heaven’s Basement biggest regret of the night, the crowd have the choice between Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumping Jack Black’ or, well, Lady Gaga. The show was in Leeds don’t forget, so Lady Gaga it was. “This will forever tarnish your name to us Leeds.” Aaron takes on the pop princess role with surprising ease (something you’re not telling us Aaron?) as Sid plays the role of R Kelly. At least we know if anything were to happen to Heavens Basement (touch wood, so much wood) that Aaron and Sid can always make it as an RnB duo. Yet much to the crowds satisfaction, they also played their Rolling Stones cover, just for good measure.

From start to finish the band perform with such energy and exhilaration I feel slightly breathless just watching them (or maybe that’s just because Sid Glover is now shirtless, sweaty and doing things to a guitar that should come with a warning). But Heavens Basement are not perfect. In fact, they are far from it, but that’s what works so well. All four musicians rebound off each other, creating chemistry that sparks like that of two young teenagers having just shared their first kiss (except much dirtier, grittier and less embarrassing when you look back on it ten years from now). Heavens Basement ten years from now? Well it’s clear isn’t it. They will still be doing what they do best. Because they can. Because they deserve it. Because they are hungry enough to go out there and get it.

HB, we salute you.