Review: Basement are back and they mean business at KOKO

Basement return to stake claim on the UK punk scene, with a big ol’ headline show at London’s KOKO.

It’s Saturday, the venue is rammed and Ipswich locals Basement are back from their brief hiatus with a brilliant new record and an even better live show.

‘Peanut butter and jam sandwiches, anyone?’

If Basement made sandwiches, they’d probably be really good sandwiches. We know this because tonight’s set basically feeds like one of the tastiest peanut butter and jam offerings we’ve ever had. Here, the base layer of butter (yes, stay with us) is Philadelphia instrumentalist Alex G. It’s not for everyone but it’s a delicious treat, and we’d totally go there again. Meanwhile main support act Tigers Jaw are the peanut butter. It’s essential, it’s delicious and it’s a Pennsylvania flavour you’re left singing along to. Or something. Meanwhile headliners Basement are, indeed, the sweetest jam layer. It would be way more dull without them and they bring the party. And now we’re hungry…


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‘It’s a pit party to envy’

The vibe in KOKO is just as hungry, come to think of it. Kids in oversized band T-shirts, shoulder-length locks and pulled-up socks stack the towering levels of the famed Camden venue. And they’re all beaming. It’s a pit party to envy as the crowd bounce around from the opener Brother’s Keeper, and considering it’s a new track from Basement’s 2016 release, Promise Everything, it’s safe to assume every single song is going to be a standout tonight.

‘The band are really in their prime’

Aquasun and Blinded Eye are the only other new tracks to sprinkle the setlist before the encore, when title track Promise Everything proves the band are really in their prime. It’s astounding as the venue wails back the new lyrics, with the same measure of passion that sees them spit out old favourites like Whole, Pine, Canada Square and of course, closer Covet.

This. Basement ruled KOKO tonight.

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‘Andrew Fisher’s dance moves are everything’

It’s the little things that matter, right? And as frontman Andrew Fisher manages to visually encompass everything we’re feeling in that moment, it warms our emo hearts. We’re sure he wouldn’t like us too much for noticing, but with each effortless stomp of his feet, Andrew is basically the depiction of letting loose and having a good time at a show.

‘More of all this, please’

Magically, it’s the big hitters from 2016’s Promise Everything that are left ringing in our ears as we leave. The title track has all the hearty riffs and grunge-emo vocals to make it alongside the band’s most memorable tracks. And as the crowd fling themselves towards the stage, we’re pretty sure everyone’s in agreement.

Here’s to seeing way more of Basement live in 2016.