Locked From The Inside
Bas Productions, whose name is fast becoming synonymous with quality live events, took their show on the road to Southend-on-Sea. Under the moniker ‘The Box’, this special event showcased three of the standout acts from the Bas II festival earlier in the year.
The venue for the occasion was the historic Railway Hotel, and as crowds gathered in the bar there was a real buzz of anticipation. The irrepressible DJ Dave Charles set the tone for the evening, working the decks in the main venue before the arrival of the first act, MODOVAR. Now a duo since their appearance at Bas II, they seemed all the more confident for it. Suave frontman Christopher Beecham engaged the crowd with his Moyet-esque vocals, whilst synth supremo Glen Wisbey played the straightman in the best tradition of Vince Clarke or Chris Lowe. Highlights of the set included new single ‘Clearly’, the catchy refrain of which is evocative of ERASURE at their best. The cover version of ROXY MUSIC’s ‘Same Old Scene’ (available as a free download form the band’s website) has also become a crowd favourite. This was a polished performance, and MODOVAR are clearly gaining momentum as they continue to work on new material for their debut album.
Next to take to the stage were SINESTAR, the Bristol-based five piece who made a big impression when they played during the afternoon shift at the James Hornsby School at Bas II. On that occasion they dazzled despite lacking the lighting and stage projections afforded to the evening acts. At ‘The Box’, however, the striking visuals and sound system served to enhance their performance still further. Their set showcased new material like ‘Cry Like You Mean It’ and ‘Undisputed King Of The Tragedy’ from their forthcoming album as well as tracks from their debut EP ‘I Am The Rain’ such as the FAITHLESS go rock of ‘Hurricane’. The eponymous lead track from that EP provided the climax of the set and prompted spontaneous outbreaks of bouncing in the crowd. This is a band with a growing reputation. As Peter Steer from TENEK, who was also present, said in the TEC Panel Interview earlier this year, “SINESTAR are brilliant; they integrate a rock sound with electronics like the original ULTRAVOX did”. SINESTAR’s debut album is due out in the new year.
Headlining the soiree were STRANGERS, who have been making waves throughout the scene lately and as such need little introduction. The trio, fronted by Davis Maddox-Jones on vocals, delivered an assured performance of their material to date, including the emotive recent single ‘Safe/Pain’ and culminating with the anthemic ‘Shine On You’. Promising new songs such as the OMD sounding ‘More Than This’ and ‘Afraid Of The Dark’ showed why interest in this band is so high. With work on their album at an advanced stage, the future looks bright for STRANGERS.
Whilst this was not a DM-themed event in the same way as Bas II, the connections with Basildon’s most famous sons are never far way. All four members of premier DEPECHE MODE tribute act SPEAK & SPELL were present, as was amateur photographer Tim Williams who famously orchestrated the band’s first photo shoot in their home town in 1981 – and of course, Deb Danahay, whose close association with the band in their early years is well documented.
The professionalism and high production values of Bas II were once again in evidence here. However, what made this event so special, like Bas II before it, was the friendly atmosphere and the very real sense of occasion. It is testament to the dedication of the organisers that not only was the night a sell out, but that many of those present had travelled from far and wide to be there. As one commentator put it, “this is more than a gig; it’s a party!”
The secret of their success? It’s a Bas thing!
The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to Deb Danahay
Bas Productions’ next event ‘Christmas Box’ takes place on FRIDAY 14TH DECEMBER 2012 at The Ship, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea SS9 2EA. The line-up will feature CURXES while The Electricity Club will also be spinning a few tunes during the earlier part of the evening. More details can be found on the Facebook event page at: http://www.facebook.com/events/369765049768697
Text by Steve Gary
Photos by Steve Gray and Chi Ming Lai
12th October 2012