By: Zachary Kolesar
The Basement is one of Columbus’ many homes to intimate interactions with both local and national acts. When your favorite musicians from across the country gather to play in a packed venue that the local music scene also frequents, emotions can become overwhelming.
When Bill Dess, aka Two Feet, first graced The Basement stage just after 9 p.m. Friday night, the presence of another special night was being brewed. At one point during the 45-minute set, which consisted of Dess on guitar and vocals and an accompanying drum machine rhythmist, the New York City musician proudly admitted two things: that this was one of the smallest venues he had planned for his American tour, and that two years he was a cashier at a bodega.
A large leap for an artist who has developed his own blend of heavy rock with distant R&B vocals and substantial bass.
The night got started just after 8 p.m. with Michigan indie act Absofacto, alias of singer and producer Jonathan Visger. Joined by two more guitarists, Absofacto had the audience warming up, especially with its hit song “Dissolve” and on-point cover of the Arctic Monkeys “Do I Wanna Know?”
But with tickets sold out weeks in advance, Two Feet could have played another sold-out show upstairs at A&R Music Bar with all the hype surrounding his layered artistry.
And the live version of Two Feet was exactly what you want to hear after only heard a musician on a recorded version Luckily I got to witness Two Feet at the smallest stage this past summer at Bonnaroo, but the sound quality in The Basement set an incredible trancy, bass-driven musical atmosphere.
Getting the night started off with “Love Is a Bitch,” Dess first demonstrated how he would shred for extended minutes as slapping outros to his dynamic sound.
Two Feet hopes to have an album out by the end of the year. But for now, he is still able to run through his whole discography, while even adding in a few gems later in the set.
However, a track released from his earlier 2016 EP First Steps, “You’re so Cold,” really captured the essence of what it is like to see an artist in raw form. As stated, the best part of live Two Feet was the extreme breakdowns, and Dess showcased his wide range of musical ability with his on-the-spot guitar solos to close out his tracks.
By this point in the show, the crowd was roaring. Intensity was pumping throughout, but things got really intimate when Two Feet shared a version of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” that was a little lighter than what his other songs carried. It was shared shortly after Dess’ touching story of achieving his dream of sharing music with the world in a sort of meteoric rise.
Two Feet rocked the rest of the set with “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” and back-to-back performances of its most popular song “Go F—- Yourself,” a track that by far slapped the hardest all night when Dess said he wanted to run the track again.
Two Feet brought intensity to an intimate venue, a perfect combination.