Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Betty album, Helmet gave the crowd a St. Patrick’s Day feast of musical gold.
As the crowd gathered, an eclectic blend of intro music started, ranging from The Carpenters sugary sweet 70’s pop classics to opera to Waylon Jennings’ singing the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. Just as folks were getting acquainted with these musical wanderings, Helmet took the stage and steered the night into a completely different direction.
The discordant opening notes of “Wilma’s Rainbow” signaled the beginning of the festivities with Helmet playing each tune of the Betty release. There was an urge in the crowd to start mixing it up in the pit during “I Know,” but those dreams were quashed in favor of head banging and dancing in place.
Helmet were tight in the execution of each song and barely came up for air between songs. The chaotic and experimental solos by Page Hamilton were wrapped up in the groove laden rhythmic textures that drummer Kyle Stephenson, bassist Dave Case, and guitarist Dan Beeman created.
While each song on Betty is a joy to listen to with plenty of hard and heavy riffs, a few tunes jumped out in the show. “Rollo” was a crushing monster with the snare popping and the whole band glowing with energy. The walking jazz line opening to “Beautiful Love” was great to hear live. The delta blues influenced “Sam Hell” retained its swampy character, but got a boost in the bottom with the addition of electric bass and distorted guitar.
After his patented behind the back pick flick into the crowd, Page took a short break to introduce the band and then got back to business by reaching back into the Helmet archive with some choice cuts. “Blacktop” sounded hot, quick, and punchy as the band continued to push the house sound system to the edge of madness. Crowd favorite “Unsung” was played with all the vital energy that a live performance could ever deliver. The second set wrapped up in howling guitar feedback at the end of “Driving Nowhere.”
Just as the insanity level of feedback was about to take its toll, Helmet came back for an encore which included a fiery rendition of “FBLA II” with blazing snare and tom rolls. Helmet sent the crowd out with a bang by jamming out “In The Meantime.” This show was outstanding and proved that great music is timeless.