HB 2013@Newcastle Academy II, July 10 2013

Three bands. Eight pounds. Rock on.

This was more bargain basement than Heaven’s Basement. And it’s little wonder the Academy’s upper room was packed to the rafters with sweaty teens, middle-aged rockers and just about every demographic in between. 

Heaven’s Basement’s latest – and greatest – incarnation works so well because their brand of Americanised British-based hard rock appeals to fans spanning genres and generations.

Still melodic enough to retain those die-hards schooled on Hurricane Party, Roadstar and HB’s early line-ups, the quartet now boasts enough fire and fury to draw in a new breed of modern metal heads. Equally at home on the pages of Kerrang! as they are dominating column inches in Classic Rock AOR, Aaron Buchanan and co. are heading for commercial paydirt.

Of course playing club size venues at eight quid a pop won’t guarantee overnight riches but it’s better to stage competitively-priced sell-outs than sparsely attended high-ticket non events. And on their latest headline tour Heaven’s Basement have taken the opportunity to bring along two fast-emerging homegrown acts for good measure.

Skarlett Riot appealed to those seeking the harder side of rock and the Scunthorpe band fully justified the hype. Meanwhile, a long, hot summer could soon become a Buffalo Summer if Wales’ answer to the Little Angels gain much more momentum.

Fresh from a fantastic Download set, the hard-gigging foursome are beginning to fulfil their obvious potential – their classic rock, chorus-fuelled vibe sparking a spontaneous celebration rarely seen during the course of a support band’s set.

Their fans well and truly warmed up for the main event, Heaven’s Basement strolled onto stage with all the confidence and swagger of a band that’s truly hit its stride in 2013. Still buzzing from their show in front of a massive second stage crowd at Download last month, the new darlings of British rock ripped through a sensational set featuring all of the anthems and more.

Radio favourites Fire Fire and I Am Electric whipped the masses into a bouncing frenzy but Buchanan was at his best when stood alone singing The Price We Pay. Shame on those ignorant punters who talked through the entirety of an emotive set highlight.

Earlier Sid Glover assumed the responsibility of vocalist on a cracking version of Paranoia but it’s as a gut-busting collective – especially so on titanic set-closer Executioner’s Day – that Heaven’s Basement are at their intoxicating best.

It only seems like yesterday that Buchanan was finding his feet on Newcastle’s smaller stages. Right now it’s all about tomorrow where Heaven’s Basement are concerned.

Simon Rushworth