Friday, December 20
American band Helmet had its original run across the mid-90s and then disbanded. Page Hamilton (vocals, guitar) reformed the band, with a floating cast of members in 2004. Since then there have been decent albums but the fans still hang on for the magic from 1990’s Strap It On, 1992’s Meantime and 1994’s Betty. While we’re at it, 1997’s Aftertaste had some trinkets too – and we almost heard some of them…
You see, Helmet 2.0, a band that last performed in Wellington just 18 months ago and sounded fantastic, couldn’t really be heard this time. They tried, valiantly – which included Hamilton talking frequently to the audience about the sound problems, to the sound engineer also, all but praying for a solution.
There was even an interval, Hamilton called time a half-dozen songs in, there were hints that the band sounded great but so much of the music was buried.
The local sound engineer clearly had everything set to 11, including the “power drill in a concrete mixer” effect and the “sledgehammer in a tumble drier” fader.
It was awful.
You could see Hamilton playing the guitar – but you couldn’t really hear it. Intricate parts were lost.
And yet he spat the lyrics out with conviction, the band locked down into an aggressive bob and weave. It should have been great.
It was a gig that was ruined by the guy behind the sound desk. If I had paid for a ticket I would have demanded a refund.
My night was ruined.
I took a walk early.
I went home and listened to Meantime. There was a ringing in my ears, a horrible memory from a gig that should have been fantastic.
This review appeared in The Dominion Post – I’ve reposted it here on Off The Tracks due to requests from people wanting to view it online