Culture, Music

Live Review: Basement @ Manchester Club Academy

0 126

By Callum Baker
Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield


The Manchester instalment of Basement’s first headline run for their latest effort ‘Beside Myself’ was a unifying affair for fans old and new. Two albums deep into their contract with mega-label Fuelled by Ramen, Basement have seen themselves tread deeper into unfamiliar waters, garnering more success, higher profile tours and an ever-expanding fan base.

To honour their now rather eclectic listener base, the Ipswich five-piece curated a conspicuously mixed bill for their return to centre stage.

Proceedings were kicked off by Melbourne export Ecca Vandal, accompanied by her troop of nameless multi-instrumentalists. There’s something perplexing about witnessing the performance of a band that brands itself only by the identity and namesake of its lead singer, despite the quartet delivering such a streamlined set that exerted a notable level of collective charisma. Their rebellious and groove laden indie/punk/pop (think old Bloc Party meets MIA meets letlive.) was admittedly an unconventional choice to precede what was to follow. With this said, variety is the spice of life – and that sentiment was certainly reaffirmed tonight.

Joyce Manor were next up, a band finding themselves in far more familiar territory than their predecessors. They wasted no time with pleasantries and drove through a set of emo bangers that spanned their entire discography, effectively exhibiting the versatility and maturity shown throughout their career, though standouts like Catalina Fight Song and Heart Tattoo elicited the most rapturous responses.

How do you strike the balance between the humility expected from an emotive hardcore band from a small town and the authority expected from an alt-rock powerhouse? This seems to be the conundrum that Basement are wrestling with. In lyrical theme with their recent endeavour, it feels like there’s something of a ‘disconnect between the two pies the band has its respective fingers plunged into. The anticipation leading up to their arrival starkly juxtaposed their somewhat resigned live presence, keeping banter and engagement with the crowd to a minimum. Though this impersonal interaction between band and crowd was subverted by frontman Andrew Fisher’s honest and transparent vocal and lyrical delivery, as well as an anxious energy that resonated through all the members.

The club venue was somewhat ill fitting for Basement on both a performative and sonic level. The stage barrier established a divide that one doesn’t expect from their shows, and the room didn’t compliment the sound all too well, resulting in something that sounded slightly flat.

Those who aren’t so well versed with Basement’s latest album, considering its thus far short teething period, may likely have gone home disappointed by how new-material-heavy the setlist was. With this said, the band didn’t neglect the fan favourites, with highlights including but not limited to Crickets Throw Their Voice and Covet. The response evoked by material from this era of the band’s career may hopefully illustrate the importance of knowing one’s audience and understanding the induction period required for any new release.

About the author / 

Georgina Hurdsfield

Masters student in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice at Manchester Metropolitan University. Keen photographer and music enthusiast.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Opinion: Why We Need The Global Youth Strike Marches

    Kiah Hamilton-Adams, Chair of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Environmental and Geographical Society (MMEGS) discusses the global climate change strike. Featured photograph: Merle Blume As a geographer, my time studying is almost solely focused on climate change and its effects. They seep into every part of our lives, affecting everything from the food we can buy, to the…

  • Youth Strike: Global climate strike in Manchester

    By Shawna Healey Featured image credit: @JournoIssac (Twitter) Thousands of young people are skipping school today in protest of climate change. The global youth strike is taking place around Manchester city centre today and they’re expected to be marching along Oxford street to Portland Street, Newton Street, ending in Ancoats with a ‘die in’ at…

  • A Selection of Weird and Wonderful Spoken Word Sessions around Manchester

    Presented by HAUNT Manchester and aAh! Magazine A good spoken word event is not only an opportunity to share work with an audience if you are a writer – but it’s also well worth being part of the crowd, for an inspiring and unique experience. Here you can see culture at its most cutting-edge: an opportunity to enjoy poetry, stories, slam-style…

  • In Defence Of ‘Friends’

    By Ben Thompson Over the past few months, I’ve been seeing more and more people voicing negative opinions of the sitcom ‘Friends’, which aired on NBC from 1994 in 2004. The show followed six friends living in New York City – Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe. Each character had their own quirks and…