730 days. 17,520 hours. 1,051,200 minutes. The Basement Club is two years old.
Rejoice! A monthly concert outing external from the main thoroughfare of the indie glitterati and cocaine bluster that anoints 'a decent night out in swingin' London' - our regular gallivants have always been music first, hysteria second.
And what a way to commend such an anniversary. The Subways, a gang of teens so heatedly tipped, we could have sold this night out alone by their singular presence. But that'd have been too easy.
See that man over there? Geoff Travis - founder and continued head of the Rough Trade Records empire, only slightly responsible for the output of The Strokes, The Smiths and The Libertines; three of the most important alternative acts of the last quarter-century (and that's just the tip of the iceberg). He's DJ-ing, tearing it up between bands, with classics old and new.
And those guys away in the corner, fixing up their projections for the evening, and scratching their heads in nervous wonder at how they'll fit the whole band onstage? Hope of the States: a band we first namechecked to you during one of their early, pre-Sony signing live-performances, of whose post-rockin', stark, melodic produce we originally fawned, 'a hair-on-end inducing wash of white-noise/harmonic, epic-tinged bliss.' Little's changed.
Except they've since made it - chart-bludgeoning, et al. Two nights prior to this - their smallest, most intimate gig in London in over two years - the sextet had sold out the gargantuan Astoria, headlining to over 2,000 gushing adorers. Tonight, it's 200 hardcores, who scored tickets in a heartbeat by staying poised to the band's message-board, amidst rumours of a tiny HOTS gig occurring on the band's day-off.
The rumours came true, as did our hopes for a celebratory Eve To Remember. Thanks, all.
The venue fills, and 9:50pm prompts the onstage rush and bravado of The Subways; someone sign them quick. Via Transgressive Records, we released this trio's hotshot debut, and from that, they extract the exhilarating garage-glam-grunge closer '1am', and the scintillating, still-best 'I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say', but there's more. The photographers are snapping, the band posing, the audience dropping jaws. In the likes of 'With You' and 'Oh Yeah', the band are assured, jagged pop greatness, and will go on to repeat the feat to even greater aplomb at rockfeedback's fourth anniversary the following night at the Barfly, moshers and all. Congratz, kids.
Then, soon after, we get embarrassed.
'I don't want to sound like a kiss-arse,' announces Sam Herlihy of the States, pre a sumptuous 'Black Dollar Bills', mid-set. 'But they could slag us off and still get what we do... This is dedicated to the grand, old people at rockfeedback.'
We blush, and feel birthday flutters. Not only for the namecheck, but the fact that - tonight - Hope of the States are the most vital thing we've seen and heard all year. New song 'Bonfires' simmers and fidgets with the awkward abandon and subtle pop inclination that covers their eventual, three-song assault of top-40 hits, 'Nehemiah', 'The Red, The White, The Black, The Blue' and an orgasmically sized 'Enemies/Friends'. The band themselves are clearly overwhelmed by the outcome - arms raised in air, hands clapping and voices blaring from all in front, and the sort of energised resonance in the air that coats the most landmark of performances.
It's thus an affair comfortable enough for the band to take phone-calls onstage, provide an additional, off-the-cuff rendition of Craig McLachlan's 'Mona', and tackle jeers from type2error, the boys behind their head-rushing visuals this evening. Someone next to us calls the whole thing 'Baroqcalyptic' by the time a dizzying 'Static In The Cities' coasts the hour to a fine halt, and we're wont to agreeing - never before has prized, classic songwriting entwined with such a sense of expanse and melodrama to form this cacophony. It's exhausting, heart-wrenching, yet deeply euphoric.
The only option left? To get off our tits in a mild attempt to fathom just what's been incurred. In all our days of The Basement, never before have we felt we've bettered ourselves; two years on, and we still attempt to push the bar. As long as talent such as that exhibited onstage this evening is allowed to persist, we'll still be here for some years yet continually becoming floored. Here's to Year # 3.
November, our last date of the year, will boast some new talent we think will be around for just as long. The 25th - be our guests for the night.
Photo-credit: Patricia L Brown / Stuart Nicholls (http://www.stunphoto.co.uk)