Friday, July 17, 2009

D’espairsRay / Heaven’s Basement @ The Rainbow, Thursday 16th July 2009

Well, no Rainbow gigs for weeks then I manage to make two in 72 hours. They’re like buses. Actually, scrap that. Thanks to buses…namely one bus (and a little mistiming on my part) we pretty much missed the entire set from the first band, Heaven’s Basement. Despite having 20 years gig going experience under my belt (I was only 2 when I started…honest) I sometimes cock it up. Tuesday night we arrived at 7.40 and the first band came on at 8.45. Three bands played that night. Last night we arrived at 8.20 and the first band had nearly finished but only two bands were playing that night. Pish. Had the bus driver not sat at a bus stop reading the paper for 15 minutes (it seems he was ‘early’…he could’ve mentioned this when we got on the bloody thing… “excuse me I hope you’re not in a hurry ‘cos I’m going to take 40minutes to drive into Birmingham. Okay?” That would’ve done the trick) we would only have missed the first couple of songs. Oh well. C’est la vie.

Anyway tonight saw a rare UK gig for J-Rock (as in Japanese…they’re Japanese you see) legends D’espairsRay. I knew little about them but I’m a bugger for Japanese music. Call it a fetish or J-Fet if you must. First up though, some Y-Rock (Yorkshire…see what I did there?) in the form of Heaven’s Basement. I’m guessing Heaven’s Basement would be hell right, which is dead rock n’roll isn’t it? Grrrrr. Actually The Basement seem to be making a bit of a rock n’roll name for themselves having landed a support slot with non other than Bon Giovanni…Jovinni…Jovi. Clearly they were ‘wanted dead or alive’ (oh my aching sides). Musically (from the one track that I heard) they’re classic rock in the vein of Guns n’Roses, Aerosmith…that kind of thang. They actually sounded quite good and had whipped the black clad audience into a sweaty mess.

Headliners D’espairsRay just look the part – cute but a little scary at the same time. Like a kitten with a flick knife. Japanese Goth Rock might not be big in the UK…and maybe I didn’t understand a single word they were singing…but since when has music been all about understanding stuff. It’s the feeling, right? From the off there were a hardcore band of headbangers who valiantly attempted to remove their noggins by furiously nodding away like that Churchill dog on speed. I, being an older gentlemen, nodded along in the manner of a kindly vicar at a tea party whilst supping a perfectly agreeable Cabernet Sauvignon (now that’s rock n’roll). Surprisingly (I’m guessing few of the audience actually spoke Japanese) a load of people seemed to know all the words and the atmosphere was one of fevered worship. D’espairsRay certainly put their heart of souls into it, pulling loads of rock god poses along the way and leaning out so that the adoring masses could have a stroke (of the band…not some kind of embolism…although I’m guessing that headbanging could do that to you). One thing that did stand out as being a little unusual was the band’s attitude towards their fans taking pictures of their idols. I understand how bloody annoying it must be having flashes going off in your eyes but clearly a few fans wanted a record of this gig (even without using a flash). The band’s security dudes made a beeline for every single one and made it quite clear that this wasn’t on (although, as you can see, I snuck a cheeky one in). Speaking of fan treatment, £30 for a CD? Really? Hmmmm. £25 for a t-shirt? I have no doubt that the band are megastars in their native country but over here (as the humble venue proved) they’re clearly just starting out. I also heard a couple of hardcore fans discussing the chance of meeting their heroes. Once again it seemed that the band were strictly off limits. Gig finished, their work was done. Like I say, it’s the real fans I felt a little sorry for. I was just there to enjoy the show. And I did. Cop a listen to Kamikaze (how appropriate given the promoters) and Redeemer and you’ll get a good sense of the energy that the band put into it all. The bass player did a neat thing at the end too. Taking a large glug of water he sprayed it over the crowd from his mouth. I copped a faceful myself. Maybe it’s a Japanese thing? Mata ne!


Charky said...

This is totally random and out of date but hey. xDD

I'm glad you enjoyed their gig :3 I was there too (and also I went to London a few days after to catch their show there, and in two weeks will be trekking to flipping PARIS to see them xD).

In terms of meeting the band, the band members themselves are actually totally okay with meeting the fans after the show if you can catch them at a quiet moment. C: If you don't act like a fangirl/fanboy and keep your cool, they will let you chat to them as I found out. xD Of course, I was exploding on the inside but if they get a good vibe off you then they're fine with it. :B

But yeah, they aren't the type of band to stick around in a bar after the gig which doesn't surprise me because D'espa are a very fangirl attracting band and I really do feel like they would be harassed by the fans if they did, poor lads! I have a million stories about how great they were to me and my friend after the birmingham and London gigs but we haven't got all night xD

It was a dead shame you weren't at the London live too, it was less intimate but around 800 fans turned up and the atmosphere was absolutely electrifying, and they played two encores.

Also, I didn't think much of Heaven's Basement personally, I had to put up with them live twice and I can honestly say repetition didn't sweeten it! xD

Thank you for writing that blog, it was a nice trip down memory-lane and I'm totally excited about going abroad to see them again. :) Take care!

The Baron said...

Cheers for the comment Charky! Thanks for setting the record straight on the band too. I can appreciate what it must be like for them. Good to hear that they make time for the fans that show the right degree of restraint though. Paris eh? That's real commitment. I can think of worse places to trek to. Let me know how you get on. Good luck!