Review by Rob Billingham, photos by Lisa Billingham
After a year off, Basementfest was back with us at the Roadhouse in Birmingham. Previously a 2 day event, organiser Alan Sutheran had decided to add Friday evening to the weekend event, and had recruited Weak13, Resin and Real Nirvana to provide the music. Three bands with grungy roots, but as it panned out, quite a contrast in performances.
Opening act Weak13 are normally a 3 piece but tonight being without drummer Neel Parmar, apparently on holiday and indulging in boyish things, they were a twosome playing “acoustified” versions of their songs. Guitarist and vocalist Nick J Townsend and bassist Wesley Smith rustled their way onto the stage, dressed as they were in newspaper and an array of sellotape from head to toe, with just a hint of face and fingers showing.
This was the first time I had seen Weak13 and to be honest I would prefer to see them as a 3 piece where they can really let themselves go, before doing a full review. They certainly gave us an insight into their musical world of different riffs with a dark sound – take your pick from a range of grunge, metal, punk and thrash, to name but a few, they are all in there somewhere.
Set list included Obey The Slave (new song unplugged unheard or released), Kind To Be Cruel (acoustic version of old WEAK13 song), Lunatic, My Last Summer With You.
After a short break in the Acoustic Lounge, a seriously loud cacophony of feedback was Resin’s fanfare introduction to the, as yet, still small-ish crowd. The five guys from Hinckley were recent Bloodstock performers on the New Blood Stage and their show tonight was evidence of them being worthy attendees.
The small crowd notwithstanding, Resin powered through a seven song set full of seriously heavy sounds. Their debut album Embrace The Fall was very well received and we heard three tracks from that and their new single release “Burn”, from a second album due for release in early 2015.
Another grunge influenced band, Resin has a fine mix of this along with some raw metal and a massive dollop of hard rock which just works. I thought bearded David Seville on bass as a joy to behold – what a livewire character! Highlight of the set for me was the new single “Burn”, which shows itself to be a great advert for the upcoming album. Definitely a band I will be seeing again.
Oh and heading back to David Seville, the Bio section on the Resin website says:
Looking back at what I saw tonight then yep, that’s just about right!!
Resin are James Botha (vocals), Mark Roseby (guitar/vocals), Simon Yarwood (guitar), David Seville (bass) and Danny Finch (drums).
Set list included Fake, Encropy, Carpe Diem and Burn.
Final band for tonight was Real Nirvana.
With our musical appetites well and truly whetted by Resin and Weak13, for many it was headliners, Real Nirvana, they had come to see as reflected by the not quite substantial crowd who had finally emptied the bar area and made their way into the venue. Considered to be by many one of the finest tribute acts in the UK, this West Midlands troupe have put together a band and a show as close to the real thing as is possible. The expansive set Real Nirvana was fired at the crowd with barely a pause for air. Little more can be said about the songs that hasn’t already been said, so it’s all really about ensuring they remain forever remembered and these self-confessed die-hard Nirvana fans were doing just that and then some. I’ll will be honest here, turn your back and you can hear the real thing. Jez Fox has the look and mannerisms of Kurt Cobain to a tee.
Was Byron Jones’ string break early in the set part of the show? I don’t know, but his poor guitar paid the price at the end as it was roughly stripped of all its remaining strings and unceremoniously left for dead on the stage.
If you are a fan of Nirvana then these guys are for you. Even if you’re not, check ’em out, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Real Nirvana are Jez Fox (aka Kurt Cobain), Dan Callaghan (aka Krist Novoselic), Ross Hancox (aka Dave Grohl) and Byron Jones (aka Pat Smear).
Set list included Aneurism, Breed, Man Who Sold The World, Lithium, Teen Spirit, Love Buzz.
Now let’s see what happen on day 2 ……………