Our younger readers are fortunate not to remember the Columbia House Music Club, which promised eight to ten CDs for 1 cent in exchange for signing up for a “club” that would mail you a (usually lame) CD-of-the-month at an exorbitant price, unless you mailed it back first. The club bore more than its fair share of customer complaints, and its selection was weak. But if you were a kid and didn’t have a lot of cash or access to good music stores (and you were diligent about declining that CD of the month), it wasn’t a bad way to get ahold of new music in the pre-Internet era. One thing I can thank Columbia House for is introducing me to Helmet and their standout albums Meantime and Betty, each still a tour de force of hardcore-influenced rock twenty years on.
Frontman Page Hamilton has moved on from his former bandmates, and is the only original member of the lineup, but as Johnny Fried Chicken Boy observed last October, Hamilton and his new cast of characters can still very much bring the heat. Hurtling through a Webster Hall set that included five songs from the band’s 2010 record Seeing Eye Dog (plus another from 2004’s Size Matters) with a fairly even blend of songs from their four 90s albums, Strap It On, Meantime, Betty and Aftertaste. One feature that always set Helmet apart from many hardcore and metal bands of the era was their more intelligent approach to their music, both in terms of Hamilton’s classically-informed playing and their eschewing of the macho heavy metal aesthetic of contemporaries like Pantera. Hamilton, who relocated from New York to LA at the end of the 90s, remains a gifted frontman, and songs like two of my favorites, “In the Meantime” and “Wilma’s Rainbow” were delivered with ferocity. Although this set clocked in at barely over an hour thanks to Webster’s curfew and the fact that this was a co-headlining tour with Toadies, Hamilton and the band packed in sixteen songs, and stirred up a mosh pit in the process (kind of a feat when you consider how early it was in the night, and the age of many of the fans).
Johnny Fried Chicken Boy recorded this set with four microphones in our usual balcony location. I ended up using the Schoeps MK41 source alone for this post, as both sources were a bit “muddy” in the low-mid bass region, and combining them would only have accentuated that flaw. After some time spent editing, although this is not my favorite of my recordings quality-wise, this recording should be a very good listen, if not quite up to the standard of Johnny’s Bowery Ballroom recording linked above. Enjoy!
Stream “In the Meantime”
Stream “Wilma’s Rainbow”
Follow acidjack on Twitter
Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.
New York, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack and Johnny Fried Chicken Boy
Schoeps MK41 (DFC, BOB, DINa)>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ)>Audition CS 5.5 (parallel compression)>Audacity (set fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 1:04:55]
02 So Long
03 Welcome To Algiers
05 Exactly What You Wanted
06 White City
07 Bad Mood
08 Wilma’s Rainbow
13 In Person
18 [short encore break]
19 In the Meantime
If you download this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Helmet, visit theirwebsite, visit their Facebook and MySpace pages, and purchase their official releases (including their most recent album, Seeing Eye Dog) and merchandise [HERE].