Helmet's reputation of being purveyors of brutality and menace still stands strong. Having been around for about 20 odd years, and they proved tonight there is no sign of relinquishing on past glories, When I first heard Seeing Eye Dog I though they had softened down a bit, I was used to hearing Page Hamilton's brutal ball tearing voice rip apart my soul. I wasn't a fan of the new album to say the least, but a live context always gives an album a whole new dimension.


This was my first time experiencing Helmet live I had a bit of a preconception what I was in for, but what eventuated was something a lot different. I expected a gig of militant angry angst driven rock, but what I got was veterans that know their game extremely well, and play amazing layered brutal and complex ball busting rhythms. At the start of the set, Page seemed to be going through the motions but as the set grew on, his rage intensified and by the end was screaming with a real intensity.


What made me appreciate the band even more were their requests from the audience, not just once but on several occasions. They also disregarded the set list a few times and played what ever they were in the mood for playing, this show true showmanship and total respect for the crowd.


Page's self deprecation was highly amusing as well. He reminisced about writing lyrics to some of his songs when he was young and stoned, and laughed about forgetting the lyrics in his older age. For one of the encores, they played one of their earliest tracks which I found quite amazing.


Since the HI-FI bar has had a new PA installed, the quality of the gigs there have been amazing. The clarity of the band was spot on and pitch perfect. The band asked the crowd a few times on how they sounded, so it made me think if there was something wrong with the fold back. There were not any really classic songs played like Meantime, which didn't really surprise me because the band were on their own trip for the night and just enjoyed playing what ever the hell they felt like playing.


20 years on, Helmet played with all the fervor of a well oiled band. Let this machine never stop. I hope Page stays pissed off for another 20 years.

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