Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Helio Sequence at the Detroit Bar

After watching the Walkmen at the Samueli Theater, I managed to double time it down to the Detroit Bar to catch a full set by the eclectic Portland duo The Helio Sequence. The Helio Sequence recently released a new album on Sub Pop records entitled Keep Your Eyes Ahead. I hadn’t had a chance to pick up the new album but I did like a number of the tracks on their prior album Love and Distance. I have managed in the past to miss The Helio Sequence live but had heard many reports that they put on a good live show. I immediately went to the merchandise table to buy the new album after watching their hypnotic set.

The Helio Sequence

They opened their set with the first track of Keep Your Eyes Ahead entitled "Lately" that matches Brandon Summers's (Vocals/Guitars) wistful voice against the octopus drumming Benjamin Weikel. This was followed by the staircase winding guitars of "Can't Say No" as Brandon was weaving his sonic tapestry. "Can't Say Now" is a stellar example of Benjamin's off kilter busy drumming matched with Brandon's spacey psychedelic guitars. The Helio Sequence continued to play their new album in order as they tackled "The Captive Mind" with its swirling synths and ringing guitars. I was enthralled with Benjamin's hyperkinetic drumming display as he made you forget about the bass guitar completely with his hands flying everywhere. The Helio Sequence had a laptop adding the percolating synthesizers to the mix but everything else was replicated immaculately. The Helio Sequence would depart from their new album as they dipped into "Don't Look Away" with its psychedelic circus synthesizers. "Let It Fall Apart" was next in order with its percolating synthesizers and hyperactive hi-hat shuffle. The harmonica would finally make its appearance as Brandon wailed away on both instruments. Brandon had a cool pedal setup with a Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb, a Dunlop Crybaby 535Q Wah and a couple of George Dennis pedals that made me do a double take. George Dennis pedals are made in the Czech Republic and I have never seen them on stage but Brandon made the most of his Super Phaser and Stereo Sampling Delay. Brandon used his electric guitar instead of an acoustic guitar on "Shed Your Love" but managed to make the song even more stunning with flurries of delay soaked notes. "Everyone Knows Everyone" had some die hard fans dancing like crazy in the front row as more harmonica goodness filled the air. It was an amazing night of music in Orange County and I was lucky enough to witness all of it.

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