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click to enlarge Basement

Basement

Mitch Wojcik

Basement, Superheaven, Pity Sex, Cloakroom 

When: Thu., Aug. 14, 6 p.m. and Fri., Aug. 15, 6 p.m. 2014
Price: sold out
UK band Basement are hardly the only folks mixing grunge and 90s emo (Pennsylvania group Balance & Composure are nailing it too), but they do it with such muscle, clarity, and confidence that it’s tough to care about any of the others. On their 2012 album Colourmeinkindness (Run for Cover), many of the songs lunge forward and upward as though the loud-quiet-loud alt-rock formula (Basement clearly love Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots) never had a “quiet” part. “Covet,” “Breathe,” and “Whole” ascend to interstellar heights a la downstate space rockers Hum, and when front man Andrew Fisher pushes his gruff voice into its upper register, I hear shades of Texas emo icons Mineral. Basement’s unfussy, straight-for-the-jugular approach could help them cross over into the pop world, where people still treat “emo” like a four-letter word. The band’s two Chicago shows sold out almost as soon as they were announced, probably because this is their first U.S. tour since breaking up in 2012; they re-formed this spring and dropped the EP Further Sky (Run for Cover) in late July. Unfortunately the new release is on the tepid side, without the power of Colourmeinkindness.

Indiana emo outfit Cloakroom, who are labelmates with Basement, should do a fine job warming up the crowd—their immersive 2013 debut EP, Infinity, sounds like what might’ve happened if David Bazan had listened to more slowcore when he was fronting Pedro the Lion. —Leor Galil

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