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Bridgehouse II, London, 9 September 2009

Heaven's Basement, photo by Sonia Waterfield

Deep in the darkest depths and buried in one of London's East End industrial estates lies the self proclaimed 'biggest little venue' also known as The Bridgehouse II, gaining its name and reputation from the original Bridgehouse which hosted a then unsigned Iron Maiden, U2, Thin Lizzy and the heroes of the era.

As I entered the top floor to the stage area, I was met with an already bustling crowd, who were hot and sweaty from Night By Night, The Infamous and Decedenze prior performances and in their boozed up fuelled states, were hungry for more, which came in the form of Heavens Basement, one of the most talked about newcomers this year. The last time I had seen the band was on the Main Stage of Bloodstock (2008), so it intrigued me to see how they would fare on a smaller stage.

Starting off with one man down (their bassist had an impromptu departure of his own accord the day before), they were met with total adoration from not only the scantily clad teenage girls who rammed the front row, but also from the mature generation.

Their music is very 80's classic rock mixed with snippets of Punk and Grunge, giving their set list a 'get down and dirty' nitty gritty feel akin to the likes of L.A Guns, Crue, Quiet Riot, mixed up with a slight hint of Southern Rock and dragged into the 21st century.

The actual tracks are full of attitude, power, addictive riffs and catchy hooks that just lock you into a stare, forcing your feet to tap along and your head to bounce. 'Misunderstood', 'Executioners Day' and 'Reign On My Parade' were the crowd pleasers and filled the room with the voices of the animated crowd who almost drowned out the band at certain points.

I guess the previous experience of supporting the likes of Thunder, Queensryche and Skid Row would have given the band that onstage confidence, which was evident with the guys jumping around, climbing on monitors and finding any nook and cranny available to give one energetic and highly visually entertaining show.

Not only did this delight the crowd (the ones that could see through the throng) but when two of the members decided to strip half naked, you could feel the female pheromones flying around the air.

Welshman Richie's vocals were on top form jarring down through the mic as if it were sliced by razor blades, while little Sid played his guitar vigorously and performed to the crowd and lapping up the attention like cream.

Heaven's Basement, photo by Sonia Waterfield

Chris, who was hitting those drums like they were his worst enemy, ironically had a permanent grin on his face; Out of them all, I give my wholehearted applaud to Johnny, who had to step in as the role of bassist after a crash course of learning the songs. He did a fantastic job and gained much appreciation and respect from the fans.

The band were not only tight in their performance, (and apart from their remarks about this being the worst gig they will ever play due to the absence of the bassist), they really seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage.

However, they had to cut the set short as poor Johnny ran out of songs he knew. The crowd were roaring for more, stamping their feet and hammering their hands high. This was sadly not to be, but the hunger was sated when the guys came to mingle at the end.

I can surely say, that the night will not be forgotten for a while and I can't wait to see them on a stage that is more suited for their musical stature.

Review and photos by Sonia Waterfield

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