LIVE: Basement / Tigers Jaw / Alex G @ Academy 2, Manchester

By Joe Sheridan

Tonight’s headliners have come a long way from the first time I saw them supporting Title Fight 5 years ago at the Star & Garter. Needless to say their success has been well deserved, going from humble beginnings to a part-time band, then to full-time, seeing their crowds diversify and grow exponentially.

Basement since they started headlining their own shows have always made efforts to support friends, and not take out bands because they are similar in sound or because they will boost ticket sales. Whilst this is a good idea, upon hearing the notes ring out from tonight’s openers Alex G, this listener is a bit taken back. Their sound is very stripped down, relying heavily on the abilities of the two vocalists, whilst the rhythm section keeps the momentum. Despite the band’s obvious talent, the lack of energy is a turn off.

Up next we have a band Basement sound very similar to, and who share a considerable amount of fans with. With songs that pull on the heart strings, Tigers Jaw have the crowd hanging on their every last word. Whilst on stage they seem very awkward, obviously humbled by the reaction they are receiving. It’s like watching a band who aren’t quite used to being on stage, but maybe that’s a good thing. Following their recent split release with Kevin Devine, the band unveil an extra special surprise to the crowd, a cover of ‘In Between Days’ by The Cure. The song instantly resonates with the crowd, keeping energy levels up and listeners intrigued. Even some questionable sound issues do nothing to waver the crowds’ energy. It’s an enjoyable set, showing the undeniable effect the band have on their fans.

It’s a hotbed of excitement in the room as Basement to take to the stage, just as they break out into ‘Brother’s Keeper’ of their new record ‘Promise Everything’, which erupts through the crowd. From thereon in the band has the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand. Witnessing such a sight, the crowd are relentless in their energy; they have quite literally managed an undeniably difficult task of maintaining the same energy seen in their earlier days even as their crowds grow in size. For some bands a barrier can be detrimental to the atmosphere, but not tonight. There’s no stopping what this band can achieve. They do a fine job of mixing the old and the new, and the crowd are singing along to every word, even during slower numbers, as if their life depends on it.

Witnessing this frantic pandemonium is a beautiful. The band themselves have always produced material that packs a punch, just as much as the lyrical content does, and whilst they are not the forerunners for writing the most heartfelt material, they have always been consistent. With a rousing applause as the last notes of ‘Covet’ ring out the band’s notion that tonight’s show had been the loudest so far is solidified.