Tag Archives: Heavens Basement

Heavens Basement, Electric Ballroom

aaron upside down

Photo by Anna Ghislena

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Cowardly Courage

The-Cowardly-Lion

Further to an old post called “Facing Fears” where I blatantly admitted to a few scaredy cat moments, this is an update on one of the fears I am doing my utmost to overcome – public speaking, or, in my case performance.

Writers, poets, there are so  many avenues out there to help us get our words out infront of other people and I love that localities in every region have embraced the growing number of platforms where people like me can share their writing.  From Slams to Open Mic opportunities and the chance to share the floor with established writers, there’s a movement of appreciative societies, listening, encouraging, enjoying and thinking upon every word that forms an individual’s perception of the spoken word.

Anything seems to go, comedy, romance, erotica, social angst; the movement reveals a freedom to explore word smithery in what I could describe as an “underground” manner.  I have found too that it is the older readers who are far more smutty and intent on getting their audience’s knickers wet with their words than I would dare to try!

So, I’ve made myself get up there in front of the mic now on a few recent occasions.  I would recommend checking out the events at The Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden, London, that shares it’s address with The Poetry Society.  I joined Platform1, hosted by Ernie Burns and Amy Neilson Smith with an audience of around twenty five to whom I delivered a couple of my poems that will shortly feature in my new publication out next month.  I got laughs in the right places which meant everything to me then, believe me!

I would also recommend finding out more about the work of Rrrants and the events they run hosted by The Anti Poet, a dynamic and entertaining duo who complete their set with cocksure ease, comical expertise, a double bass to keep the beats in time and, er, well, a cow bell.  I’ve been to a couple of Rrrants evenings now, the first time as a onlooker, trying to persuade myself that sweaty palms and thumping heart was not an excuse to curl up and die and therefore, the second time, I put my name down, refused to let my sweaty palms and thumping heart result in a blackout and conquered my tiny set leaving me wishing I had time to do more.

I’ll get there in the end, I know, but it’s practice that I need and crave.  My increasingly indelible life motto, “Nothing Left To Loose”, (also a rocking great song by Heaven’s Basement!), also rings in my ears every time I wonder: should I?

Thanks for reading.

Long Live The Fans!

 


Got post-gig munchies? A flash flood of fondue is just the ticket!

For some bands it’s not all just about the music; it is also a matter of taste.

Hot chilli sauce has been a favourite feature of merchandise stalls, from The Sword’s “Tears of Fire Hot Sauce” and Heaven’s Basement’s own “Fire Fire” sauce, to Offspring’s Dexter Holland who created his very own “Gringo Bandito” sauce for supermarket shelves.

Then we have beer. Iron Maiden’s “Trooper Beer” was launched this week.  Then there’s top beer connoisseurs/marketers/creators, Signature Brew, who have been responsible for launching brands for a number of artists like Professor Green with “Remedy” beer and, the choice in question today, Enter Shikari’s “Sssnakepit Beer”.

Sssnakepit Beer

Sssnakepit Beer

Yes, I succumbed to gimmickry, like any other fan, in order to get the chance to get more than just a “taste” of the band I admire, and bought a few bottles of the stuff.  It tastes good.  Thankfully it lacks the sweat and blood of a hard working bunch of lads but, like them, however, it is pleasant and lively, having the refreshing zing of citrus and bitter hops.

So, here comes the plan.  I am a Keith Floydian sucker for splashing in a bit of this and that into my cooking and Sssnakepit Beer was just the ingredient I had been waiting for.  No!!  I hear you shout!  Don’t waste it!

As I said, it is citrusey.  There is definite pineapple in there and if cheese and pineapple is a retro marriage made into spikey hedgehogs, then cheese and Sssnakepit Beer was going to be an elopement; a love affair; a divine relationship, made into ……………… fondue.

It’s easy – sooo easy!  It’s basically a posh sauce swept up by chunks of bread and, if you can be bothered, roughly chopped salad stuff like cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, even raw cauliflower and mushrooms (button is best; sadly Shiitake are probably too exotic for this.  Enter Shiitake?  Yeah?  Anyway..)  You don’t need a fondue pot with all those fancy skewers and flame burners.  This can be made and eaten straight from a saucepan.

So, if you are compos mentis and capable, (ha ha) this would be a satisfying post gig munchie before bed!  Just be careful not to burn the bottom of the pan and stir all the time (and be prepared for some weird and cheesy dreams until the next morning!)

Here goes:

Sssnakepit Beer Fondue serves 2 people (Double the ingredients for 4 people)

What you need:

One medium saucepan.  Wooden spoon.  Measuring jug.

Selection of salad stuff or thick bread or both

250g (half pound) grated cheddar cheese

¼ pint Sssnakepit Beer (yes – there’s still some left to drink!)

Large knob of butter

Heaped teaspoon of corn flour

Pinch of pepper

What to do with it all:

First, if you are feeling healthy chop a load of crunchy fresh stuff from the salad drawer, thus:

crudites

or if it’s stodge you’re craving, roughly cube up some chunky bread.

Next make the fondue:

Grate and weigh the cheese

1. Grate and weigh the cheese

Then take one bottle of Sssnakepit Beer.  Open it, carefully.  Pour ¼ pint into a measuring jug.

2. Then take one bottle of Sssnakepit Beer. Open it, carefully. Pour ¼ pint into a measuring jug.

Melt butter in the saucepan over a medium heat and add the grated cheese and the Sssnakepit Beer, reserving a small amount of it in the jug.

3. Melt butter in the saucepan over a medium heat and add the grated cheese and the Sssnakepit Beer, reserving a small amount of it in the jug.

4. Next, put one heaped teaspoon of corn flour into the jug with the beer and a pinch of black pepper and stir until creamy.

4. Next, put one heaped teaspoon of corn flour into the jug with the beer and a pinch of black pepper and stir until creamy.

5. Turn up the heat under the saucepan and stir the cheese, beer and butter mix until the cheese has melted.

5. Turn up the heat under the saucepan and stir the cheese, beer and butter mix until the cheese has melted.

6. Add the corn flour mix from the jug to the saucepan and continue to stir until the sauce thickens, turning down the heat if it begins to bubble too vigorously.

6. Add the corn flour mix from the jug to the saucepan and continue to stir until the sauce thickens, turning down the heat if it begins to bubble too vigorously.

That’s it!  Then skewer some bread or a salady item (with a fork is fine if you don’t have skewers) and scoop up your sauce with it and eat.  Perfect!

7. That’s it! Then skewer some bread or a salady item (with a fork is fine if you don’t have skewers) and scoop up your sauce with it and eat. Perfect!

Maybe rock and roll cookware suppliers Megachef could produce A Flash Flood of Fondue or Enter Shiitake apron? C’mon!  You know you want to!!

Whatever next?   Airbourne “Black Dog Barking” dog biscuits”?  I’ll telephone Pedigree Chum in the morning.

©Anna Ghislena


Album Review – Heaven’s Basement – “Filthy Empire”

filthy empire

If one band has had more ups and downs than a groupie’s knickers, (if you’ll pardon that well-worn phrase), having tried and tried again for years on end, then surely, success must prevail for Heavens Basement at last?  With a history of hectic touring schedules behind and ahead of them; some significant band member changes over the years and two EPs to their name, the UK rockers are about to release their debut album, recorded and produced by John Feldman (Black Veil Brides/Papa Roach).

This is not an album that will “grow” on you if you like hard rocking heavy riffage, gut wrenching vocals, and slapping drums.  No.  It will grab you from the moment vocalist, Aaron Buchanan, screams the first blood curdling words “Welcome home!  Come In!”.  It will proceed to shake you up and down by the scruff of your neck and have you pressing the replay button from the moment the last note crashes out. Girls.  Boys.  The door is wide open upon this “Filthy Empire”.  Please, go through.

Bold and ballsy, “Welcome Home” is followed by the single “Fire Fire”, released towards the end of last year.  It has everything on offer from its distinctive intro, huge riffs, melodious interludes and tumbling lead solos from guitarist Sid Glover that take the song home to a Guns N Roses/Slash ending.

“Nothing Left To Lose”, a defiant song of no regrets, is their second single from the album.  It is full of chunky verses and an uplifting chorus that sticks in your head and I guarantee you’ll be singing that one for days afterwards.

“Lights Out In London” slows the process down slightly.  In the form of a bluesy number sung with bitter emotion conveying despair on the darker streets of London, it is a thought provoking moment before “I Am Electric” kicks in.  Now, stand back and bare caution, this one spits venom.  It is an in your face wakeup call in the form of a sharp slap about the chops that is finished off with a dash of screamo.

There are a couple of obvious clichés that glare occasionally, one being “The Long Goodbye”, taken from their second EP “Unbreakable”.  A song with twangy riffs reminiscent of The Cult, it is about not knowing what you’ve got until its gone, but that said it is well structured with varying melodies although the verses are a little unmemorable.

“Heartbreaking Son of a Bitch” tumbles along with unrelenting energy.  I loved the slightly distorted vocal intro which enhances the sheer bloody mindedness of a song delivered by Aaron with cocksure expression.  “Be Somebody” however, alters that divine moment when we get back to clichés.  It does display Aarons full range of vocal capabilities but the hard rocking attitude softens here and is more suited to mainstream listening targets with its easy melody and simply predictable lyrics – “I want to be somebody, I want to leave this town” etc.  It is a stadium anthem for sure, but one that I would choose to miss and take a trip to the bar.

“Can’t Let Go” from their first self-titled EP displays their talents for conjuring a multitude of melodic changes, with again, a slice of Guns N Roses style, and it takes us through the different levels of a love song hell bent on possession and obsession.

If there has to be a spine tingling moment on this promising album, then, “Price We Pay” will release the grip on the scruff of your neck and will tickle the hairs until you have goose bumps like mountains.  It is a delightful track with soulful vocals accompanied by acoustic guitar and piano, later joined by cello and the light peppering of percussion before soaring to a gentle crescendo.  This one keeps the album and the listener grounded.

“Jump Back” hurls us back to life with bluesy rock and roll, a good one for a dance about, before “Executioners Day”, the aptly placed finale on this album, races us out on the wave of a menacing stampede.

Having naturally gathered a multitude of influences in their time spent on the road, “Filthy Empire” proudly carries English eloquence and the result is Brit rock at its most potent. It is full of gigantic sing along choruses, powerhouse drumming, sliding guitars and chugging bass lines.

It’s true.  Heavens Basement have nothing left to loose and everything to gain.

This review is also available at www.stereoboard.com via http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/177133/9