There’s an enigmatic quality to The Story So Far and Basement. Despite their distance in origins, America’s The Story So Far and the UK’s Basement mean a lot, while saying very little outside of their lyrics. Neither commit themselves to many formal interviews, yet both have used their music to attract and comfort likeminded spirits.
It’s a feeling which, first, pulsates through Basement’s set. The Ipswich five-piece are greeted by a full and engaged audience at Melbourne’s 170 Russell. Immediately, their straight-forward rock quality radiates under deep blue and purple lights. The moody hues allow the band to duck and dive between obscurity and clarity, bursting through the smoke when the brightest hooks demand. 2018’s ‘Beside Myself’ provides the set’s starting point as ‘Disconnect’ sets the tempo for the best of their discography to flow. ‘Be Here Now’ and ‘Nothing Left’ see the record played almost in order, intercepted by 2016’s ‘Promise Everything’ and 2012’s ‘Colourmeinkindness’. For everyone who may just be discovering Basement for the first time, and you can tell there are some, longtime fans hang on the choruses of ‘Covet’, ‘Promise Everything’ and ‘Whole’, all fists clenched and bodies lunged towards the stage.
The crowd maintains position for the California headliners in The Story So Far, who feel decidedly more emotional than their last Australian appearance at Download Festival. Maybe it’s the venue’s intimate capacity and the fact we can see the beads of sweat as they begin to form and fall. “Thank you for growing up with this band,” vocalist Parker Cannon says sincerely. “Not just coming to the shows, but really growing up with us,” he repeats with a passion he rarely shares outside of the songs themselves. ‘Empty Space’, ‘Roam’ and ‘Quicksand’ provide the reminiscent call to arms. The memories of heartbreak and teenage triumphs come flooding back simultaneously, before 2018’s ‘Proper Dose’ lands the room face first in the reality of it all. The world is cruel and uncomfortable, and it’s this narrative which binds tonight’s audience together. ‘Heavy Gloom’ and ‘Nerve’ bring the set to a bittersweet close, as everyone exhales into song. You never really know what you’re going to get from The Story So Far, but tonight’s set feels as authentic and rejuvenating as it does exhausting and turbulent. Whichever way you perceive it though, it certainly still stands for something inescapable.
The Story So Far & Basement, 170 Russell, Melbourne, 23/04/19
All photos by Jay Wennington