By Mark Schenkel
As millions tuned in to Sunday night’s telecast of the Academy Awards (remember that night?), fans of iconic Alternative band Helmet packed into Brooklyn’s St. Vitus for an intimate, sold out show.
The current lineup of the band, consisting of longtime guitarist/vocalist Page Hamilton, guitarist Dan Beeman, bassist Dave Case, and drummer Kyle Stevenson took the stage by walking through the crowd, reminiscent of a prizefighter entering the ring for battle.
As the opening riffs of “Wilma’s Rainbow” began, it was immediately clear that Helmet are not just a legacy act trying to earn a paycheck, but a band still hungry to churn out solid hard rock.
The set was cut into two segments, the first being a full performance of the band’s landmark album, Betty, which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The true test of any classic album is whether it stands the test of time, or falls victim to the ever changing music scene. Fortunately for Helmet Betty has not only held up well, but the riffs and Hamilton’s smooth yet scratchy vocals sound as relevant now as they did 20 years ago. Good songwriting never goes out of style.
The second half of the set was a collection of songs that spanned the bands career, including “FBLA” and “Unsung”. The show concluded with a crushing version of “In The Meantime”, which threw the crowd into frenzy.
Many in the audience, consisting almost entirely of late twenty and early thirty somethings were noticeably wearing flannel shirts. Undoubtedly paying tribute to the 90’s Grunge and Alternative music scenes.
Sunday night’s show was a bit of a homecoming for the band. Hamilton reminded the audience that the first ever Helmet performance took place in Brooklyn, 26 years ago. Judging by fan reaction and the tightness of the bands playing, as far as Helmet goes, the old adage about not being able to go home again isn’t necessarily true.
For a full list of tour dates, head over to http://www.helmetmusic.com