Review by Paul Davis, Photos by Mark Lloyd
It was a hotter than hell evening at Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms as Heaven’s Basement rolled into town, warming up for appearances at Reading and Leeds festivals. Prior to the headline act, the crowd was warmed up by three local support bands.
Liberty Lies are the main support tonight, the room is packed out for the Black Country band and deservedly so. With a style that brings to mind modern rockers like Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry, albeit with a classic influence too, the band thrive on the sold out audience, showing why they should be playing to this kind of crowd every night. Liberty Lies already had a lot of fans here tonight but by the time they closed with the excellent ‘Someone Else’ there may have been a few more converted to the cause.
Earlier, the show opened with a couple of bands with contrasting styles, Walsall based Bullitstorm, led by the powerful vocals of Graham Benton Cox, provided an enjoyable set of sometimes sleazy classic rock. Despite their early start, there was a decent crowd to see their set, an improvement after playing to ‘about 3’ people here before. Telford’s Envy Of The State have a more modern sound and have achieved a degree of success in recent years. It’s a short and sweet set tonight, a little too short maybe but they do find time for a fine cover of ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’.
Somewhat later than scheduled, but by no means in Axl Rose territory, Heaven’s Basement arrive on stage with the confidence and swagger of a band whose star is in the ascendency. ‘Welcome Home’ is the opener on their hugely acclaimed album Filthy Empire and it opens the show tonight. ‘Can’t Let Go’ follows before frontman Aaron Buchanan thanks the crowd for selling out the venue. If the Slade Rooms is sold out and sweaty, then the first single from Filthy Empire, ‘Fire, Fire’ only turns up the heat another notch. At the end of the song, guitarist Sid Glover informs us that not only has the show sold out, but it’s also the most tickets the band have ever sold in advance for a show.
‘Lights Out In London’ has the kind of chorus that will be stuck in your head long after this show ends and the Slade Rooms audience needs no encouragement to join in. ‘Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch’ name checks Jumping Jack Flash, Telegram Sam and Ziggy Stardust and when the crowd takes over on ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ it’s a moment to savour.
The aggressive energy of ‘I Am Electric’ whips the crowd into a frenzy before the ballad ‘The Price We Pay’ slows thing down, beginning with just Buchanan and Glover on stage and the pair are only slightly distracted when joined by a male streaker. When the time comes for an encore, the band ask the crowd to make the security staff work, and they wanted to ‘see people flying across this venue’. It’s fair to say they weren’t disappointed.
This was Heaven’s Basement’s last headlining show in the UK for at least a few months, as following their festival performances they embark on another US tour. They signed off in some style in Wolverhampton.
See more of Mark’s photos here;