Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Helmet at the Key Club in Hollywood

My mind had barely recovered as I pulled up to the Key Club in Hollywood. The blinking marquee flashed Helmet with the iconic "Meantime" cover in the background and I couldn't wait to hear the whole album from start to finish.


Taxi impressed the Key Club crowd early with their double bass assault. I had a tough time finding their Myspace page but didn't have a hard time enjoying their fierce songs. It was part Fu Manchu and part Queens of The Stone Age mixed with the rawness of Nirvana. The mixing of a Rickenbacker bass and a Gibson Thunderbird bass worked well as one handled the high notes and the other obliterated the low notes. I will admit I am a sucker for two bass bands such as Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Cop Shoot Cop. The gentlemen of Taxi didn't have much on stage banter and let the songs do the talking. It was the quickest opening set in that I wish they could have played longer.

Fireball Ministry

"More Cowbell!" was not heard from the crowd as Fireball Ministry dished out another dose of head banging rock and metal that was befitting of the Sunset strip. Johny Chow (Bass) was ruling on the bass as thumb was firmly anchored on the bass pickup as he plucked away on his bass strings. Emily Burton (Guitars) had her usual share of guys in front of her cheering her on as her hair flailed in unison with her earth shaking riffs. Fireball Ministry smoked through a similar set as the night before and reaped the benefits of a better audio mix at the Key Club.

Mondo Generator

Nick Oliveri (Bass/Vocals) led Mondo Generator through another raucous set that was similar to their San Diego Show. I forgot to mention that Hoss (Drums) does a fine job of cranking the engine of Mondo Generator on some of their faster punk laced tunes. Nick had some problems with microphone midway through the set that forced him to come over to Ian's side and sing. This technical difficultly didn't slow down their momentum as they played such tracks as "F.Y. I'm Free" , "Gonna Leave You" and "Basket Case". Mondo Generator's latest album is "Dead Planet" and hopefully they will be back on the tour circuit again soon.


"Swallowing Everything" was launched into a false start as Page Hamilton's (Guitars/Vocals) microphone was not working and the band restarted the track. The band didn't look back at all as they blazed through a few songs before diving into "Meantime". "Birth Defect" was insane and performed way faster compared to the recorded version as it seemed the band members were trying to out race each other. Kyle Stevenson (Drums) furiously crushed his drums for the freight train opening of "In The Meantime" and I knew from this point that the show would be one I wouldn't forget. Page was screaming like it was 1992 as the guitars roared. The band didn't even stop for the pull off hammer on guitar riff of "Ironhead". "Unsung" garnered a large number of cheers from the audience as Dan Beeman (Guitars) did a fine job keeping up with Page. The Key Club had the sound dialed in and a few pits spontaneously broke out. "Turned Out" was vicious as Page dived into a perfectly oblique noise filled guitar solo as the band chugged along in the background. The vile in Page's voice for "He Feels Bad" gave the song a darker edge. "Better" is one of my favorite riffs from the album and the song was flawless as Helmet was running at top speed. "FBLA II" pleased the hardcore Helmet fans in the audience as it is another gem in the catalog that has rarely been played live. Kyle also got huge points for sticking the drum breakdown for "FBLA II". The encore of "Tic", "Wilma's Rainbow" and "Milquetoast" capped another memorable performance from Helmet.

Helmet setlist at the Key Club in Hollywood (4/19/2008)
"Swallowing Everything"
"See You Dead"
"Birth Defect"
"In the Meantime"
"Give It"
"Turned Out"
"He Feels Bad"
"You Borrowed"
"Role Model"
"Wilma's Rainbow"

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