Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Helmet at Canes
Helmet is one of the few bands that has the authority to immediately clear my concert calendar. Helmet was playing a few warm dates prior to their departure for a quick Australian tour. I was blown away by the ensuing setlist from Helmet that made this one of my more memorable Helmet shows.
Fluf rocks. If you don't believe me, check out their myspace address. I last caught up with Fluf when they played ironically enough with Helmet at the Detroit Bar. Fluf is a guaranteed good time with detuned rock gems that are tightly spun and well crafted. Brad Davis (Drums) was still proudly sporting his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle drum kit as he pounded away during "She's Scorpio". Otis (Guitars/Vocals) unleashed his sludgy riffs via his custom shop Fender Stratocaster. "Hang Out" was prefaced by Otis saying he wrote the song when he was 110lbs heavier. The crushing riff of "Peanut Butter" was as chunky as it sounds with Josh Higgins holding down the low end with his Fender Jaguar bass. I was secretly hoping for one of my favorite Fluf songs "Lobster Tree" but was still glad to see them up on stage having a ton of fun.
When I saw a cowbell set up with a kick drum foot pedal, I knew I was in for a treat. Fireball Ministry kept the detuned trend going as they unfurled their scorching brand of metal and rock. James Rota II (Vocals/Guitars) preaches the metal gospel with his blue Dean guitar. Johny Chow (Bass) was head banging away as they plowed through "Sundown". Emily Burton (Guitars) had the guys in front of her throwing up the devil horns as she blew them away with her dagger sharp riffs. "The Broken" was another metal romp that had John Oreshnick (Drums) stomp on his drum kick pedal to trigger the opening cowbell notes. "King" was outstanding with its interweaving guitar lines and propulsive beat. I was glad I would be catching them the next night at the Key Club.
I was excited to see Mondo Generator because I have long been a fan of Queens of the Stone Age and remember seeing them in the early days at the Troubadour. Nick Oliveri (Bass/Vocals) has a fierce bass tone that was the backbone of the early Queens of the Stone Age albums let alone his engaging stage performance. "Ode To Clarissa" was a song I remember from the early days and sounded sharp as ever as Nick was beating his Fender Bass. "Basket Case" from their latest album "Dead Planet" had the ferocity of a punk tune as it wrapped up in less than two minutes. "Shawnette" from their first album "Cocaine Rodeo" sounds disjointed and methodically meanders but still manages to hit you over the head. "Lie Detector" sounds like a vintage Queens of the Stone Age song with its blasts of guitars and rapid tempo changes. They sufficiently warmed up the crowd for the onslaught of Helmet.
My metal loving brother and I had a discussion of which Helmet album we liked better, "Aftertaste" or "Meantime". I had to side with "Meantime", but thought "Aftertaste" was not too far behind. "Pure" knocked me off my feet as I hadn't heard the song in years. "Renovation" had my jaw drop as I quickly figured out that they were going to play the entire "Aftertaste" album. Dan Beeman (Guitars) is the newest member of Helmet and blended in with his Gibson Les Paul and Marshall stack. Page Hamilton (Guitars/Vocals) had his custom ESP signature brand firing on all cylinders through his VHT stack. The guitar riff from "Exactly What You Wanted" is pure drop D bliss as it constantly changes before going berserk at the one minute mark. Jon Fuller (Bass) nailed the opening bass riff for "Like I Care" as Kyle Thompson (Drums) led the cymbal smashing assault on his drum kit. "Diet Aftertaste" is another pushing and pulling guitar riff that was ferocious and Jon again added the trademark bass flurry at the exact right moments. The song was capped with a vicious Page Hamilton solo. "Harmless" was unrelenting as the stop and start guitar riffs sanded your eardrums. I can't tell you the number of times I have dialed up the volume on my amp and played "Insatiable" and "Crisis King" back to back as it is the perfect way to close out the album. I was satisfied hearing the whole album but Helmet came back to finish off the audience with a four song encore of "Give It", "Milquetoast", "Wilma's Rainbow" and "In The Meantime". I heard rumors that they would play the entire album "Meantime" the next night at the Key Club as was shaking my head thinking I would hear two of my favorite albums back to back performed in their entirety.
Helmet setlist at Canes (4/17/08)
"Exactly What You Wanted"
"Like I Care"
"It's Easy To Get Bored"
"In The Meantime"