Sunday, October 07, 2007
Helmet at the Vault 350
The Vault 350 in Long Beach is one venue I haven't frequented that often. It was once an old bank that has been converted to a night club and concert venue. The majority of the events they book there are rap and old punk acts. The venue had its soundsystem put to the test as Helmet dialed it up to 11.
Dub Trio from Brooklyn, New York came out rumbling with a mind warping fusion of Dub, Hardcore, Metal, and Punk amagamation. I heard elements of Quicksand, Lee Perry, Sublime, Kinski, and Meshuggah. Joe Tomino (Drums) was mathematical in his drumming. He knew when to let the bass and guitars take over a song but would unleash pockets of drum blasts to keep your ears ringing. Stu Brooks (Bass) also knew when to unfurl his punishing low end riffs on his Fender Bass. Dave Holmes (Guitars) fulfilled his role well using various effects(like the E-Bow) to color the sound. I wasn't surprised to see that they are on Mike Patton's (Faith No More, Peeping Tom, Tomahawk) Ipecac record label. They have a new release entitled "New Heavy" that I will be investigating.
Helmet blew a fuse last time I saw them at the Detroit Bar . It was their warm show prior to their midwest swing of dates that was expanded to include some west coast dates. Helmet has been on tour since then and were razor sharp as Page Hamilton (Vocals/Guitars) started the crushing riff of "Swallowing Everything". The start and stop riff of "Crashing Foreign Cars" was sadistic and is easily my favorite tune off "Size Matters". By the time they hit "Ironhead", the band was on fire and the soundsystem was pumping out their output with a good overall sound mix with Page's vocals rightfully a notch above everything else. Page's solo on "Ironhead" was just plain disturbing as he carefully crafted bursts of noise from his guitar. It soon was time for a stroll down memory lane as they played a handful of successive songs of their album "Aftertaste". I am hoping they do the later half of that cd at future shows since "Insatiable" and "Crisis King" are some of my favorite Helmet tunes. Page was playing his trusty old pink ESP Horizon that he alternated with his custom aluminum brushed ESP PH model. Jon Fuller (Bass) nailed the opening bass line for "Give It". "Birth Defect was the highlight of this mini set with Kyle Stevenson (Drums) doing an impressive job. I also have to note that Jimmy Thompson (Guitars) echoed Page very well during "Turned Out". I have been to quite a few Helmet shows with the new line up and they keep raising the bar every time I see them. Is is too greedy to hope they add some more West Coast dates before the year is up?
Helmet setlist at the Vault 350 (10/04/07)
"Crashing Foreign Cars"
"See You Dead"
"Exactly What You Wanted"
"Like I Care"