800 people. 4 bands. 1 room.
The Factory Theatre, in Sydney’s Marrickville, is a fairly intimate venue whose beauty lies in being able to cram a sea of people into one room and still manage to magnify everything – good and bad. On Friday night it was home to UK rock band Basement, accompanied by Turnover, Break Even and Vices, for a show smack bang in the middle of their 2016 Australian tour. The five-piece outfit are no strangers to Australia, having developed a cult following over the past three albums along with countless sold out shows, and it’s not hard to see why.
As a band that focuses heavily on their live sound and stage presence, it really isn’t surprising how tight and well-executed the set was. From the moment Basement tore open the Factory Theatre with Whole – a song off their 2012 release Colourmeinkindness– there was no going back. It’s a great feeling to watch a band wholeheartedly smash out their set, but an even better feeling to see that energy reciprocated in the crowd. Whilst talking was kept to a minimum, Basement clearly had other (and better) ways to connect with fans – mainly through the deeply personal lyrics I Wish I Could Stay Here (2011), Colourmeinkindness (2012), Further Sky (2014) and Promise Everything (2016) are characterised by. Fading led to fans screaming ‘in my head, I heard you call my name, I’m breaking down, I’m faded’ as limbs flew over the mosh, whilst Pine saw the mass wailing ‘I hate myself but that’s okay’ along with vocalist Andrew Fisher.
Basement have an indescribable double-edged quality to them: they’re full of boisterous life but can seamlessly drop down to sweet, melodic moments; they’re lyrically aggressive but refreshingly honest; and they sonically push boundaries while still producing a sound that’s familiar. The band easily powered through a set that highlighted the best of their five year discography – including Yoke, Promise Everything and Crickets Throw Their Voice – before finishing off with a rousing version of Covet. In fact their set felt somewhat like a graduation ceremony, as Australian fans celebrated past successes with them and embraced what was still to come. This night felt far more personal than your standard Friday night gig, and can only be attributed to the genuine love of music the boys have, paired with how incredibly relatable their songs are.