:: Helmet ::
:: Summit Music Hall ::
:: March 29, 2011 ::
Words and photos by Johnny Concert
I arrived at the show a song or two in on Saint Vitus’ set. The band was named after a song by Black Sabbath called ‘St. Vitus’ Dance’ from the Vol. 4 album (1972). The guitar player, Dave Chandler, looks like a member of the band Hawkwind – like an aged, weathered wizard. The singer, Wino Weinrich, is very metal — long hair, leather vest, tatts, tight jeans, bracelets. The music is sludgy with slow, grinding riffs. Sometimes they play so slowly it is painful. That is until the guitar solo. Then the band kicks into a higher gear and the crowd goes wild.
But Helmet is the band I came to see.
Helmet performed their platinum album, Meantime. Meantime is my favorite Helmet album and the album that served as my introduction to the band in the early 1990s. For some reason, the band played the second side, first. The drums (held down for years by the amazing John Stanier, now played by Kyle Stevenson) is definitely a lead instrument in the music of Helmet. Of course, the song ‘Unsung’ won the night.
Page Hamilton is underrated and underappreciated. He boasts his own signature guitar – made by ESP. I would describe his riffs as staccato style but his solos as more legato (smooth and connected). He keeps time during the song by stamping his left foot in an exaggerated motion – his whole leg moves forcefully.
Helmet turned in a top notch performance — high caliber musicianship and precise execution.