All posts in April 2016

In The Pit: Basement @ Slims S.F. April 9th 2016 featuring Turnstile, Defeater, & Colleen Green

SAN FRANCISCO-Hardcore and Alternative rock fans came together Saturday night at Slims to a completely sold out show featuring the UK’s own Basement. After announcing an indefinite hiatus in 2012 shortly after the release of their breakthrough LP Colour me in Kindness, Basement returned to touring last year with their first full length release since the break this February, Promise Everything. Lineup included Colleen Green, an indie artist from Los Angeles; poetic hardcore band Defeater from Boston; and hardcore ensemble Turnstile from Baltimore/Ohio/D.C.

Upon arriving at Slims during doors, I took note that the show hadn’t even started yet and the entire venue was nearly at capacity with 400 fans. The crowd appeared to mostly consist of tall 21+ hardcore fans who have no problem getting in your face and using you as a stepping stool to crowd surf while they scream at the top of their lungs. By the time Colleen Green took the stage, it was clear the venue was too small to accommodate the crowd, people were pushing and shoving just to get over to go to the bathroom or the bar. There also were 6 support beams in the center of the venue that made it difficult to see the band. The opener Colleen Green is a recent addition to the tour with a surfy, moderately punk sound. She used a drum machine to play beats and bass in the background in addition to vocal processors to make her voice sound dream like. In my own opinion, I felt the band could have found a more talented tour opener. From what I gathered her music was not my style and certainly not the style of other fans.

After a 15 minute intermission, Boston’s Defeater took the stage and the audience livened up. Defeater’s music speaks to the sad realities in our lives. They have an interesting combination of hardcore music with sad yet poetic screaming vocals that draw your attention. They were certainly put together and playing on time but the sound production during their set had some hiccups causing the mic to have loud feedback.

After each set, Slims puts down a projector screen and plays silent mashups of old movies and tv shows which I thought was a cool visual element to the show. After another 15 minute intermission, Turnstile took the stage and instantly, the crowd roared and pushed up to the front leaving breathing space in the back. The room filled with groove driven melodic energies as the crowd went wild crowdsurfing, stage diving, doing flips and taking the mic and screaming the lyrics. They reminded me of old Rage Against the Machine but way better. This was my first time seeing Turnstile and in some ways, I think they stole the show with their high energy and participation with the audience. Some of the highlights of the show included their bassist, Franz doing a full backflip while still playing in the middle of the song and vocalist Brady dropping the mic into the crowd and stage diving into the corners of the crowd. Fantastic band, fantastic set. I’m not usually one for hardcore but if you like punk or alternative, check them out.

To my surprise, a decent amount of people left after Turnstile, however I heard many conversations about people staying for Basement because they’d never heard of them and wanted to see what all the fuss is about. This was my third time seeing Basement. What originally drew my attention to seeing them live was a YouTube video sent to me by a friend and when I watched it, I realized this was the best live set I had ever seen and to this day I have not been disappointed. Basement concerts feel like a conversation with many different people ranging in moods and tones but they all flow together and evolve as the set progresses. Yes, there’s solid vocals, edgy bass and guitar solos. What they are able to evoke in the crowd from their ahead of their time music, is one of the reasons seeing Basement is so exciting. Throughout their set, you’re able to scream at the top of your lungs with strangers and then head bang to unbelievably catchy guitar and bass melodies. Shortly after, it slows down and you’re taking a few minutes to relax and sway and feel. Last night was no exception.

They took the stage with a rad light set up that would turn on lights when the drummer kicked. They played many hits off their latest release Promise Everything such as “Aqua Sun”, “Brother’s Keeper”, “Blinded Bye” & “Oversized” but also made sure to mix some of their older hits in and even threw in a B side song. As usual, they opened with “Whole” and also played “Bad Apple”, “Spoiled” and many more. You definitely did not feel cheated for songs because they played them all and the crowd moved and grooved. I’d absolutely recommend checking out these bands and seeing them live if you ever get the chance. You’ll have a memorable night.