(There’s a free download link at foot of t’page, go check it out then come back & read the below).
There’s a reason Helmet gigs are legendary. Tonight I found out why. So much fucking power. And stamina. They came on, played 4 tracks, then played the whole of their “Meantime” album, (it’s Meantime’s 20th anniversary this year) starting with the last track on side 2 and working backwards to track 1, side 1. The drummer cocked up though, missed one track. So they played us a bonus track. Then they went off, we all chanted “HELMET, HELMET” a bit & they came back for another 4 / 5 songs (I lost count). An hour & a half of pure unadulterated eyeball frying, tearing, crashing mayhem. Good band for my bucks I reckoned.
There was some huge guy stood near the front, a genuine (and possibly the original) immovable mass. I sheltered behind him from most of the moshpit in the most prime position imaginable. It worked really well. Meant I could do my nut dancing, bouncing & shit without worrying about anyone knocking my supporating arm. (Seriously think I’m gonna have to see a doc about my elbow. It’s beginning to look well icky - lemme know if you wanna see a pic). I thanked immovable mass man afterwards. Shook his sweaty hand with my sweaty hand & we neither of us went “eugh” coz, i’m guessing, we woz brought up well.
A few people looked very sniffily at my T-shirt, it being blindingly white with fluorescent pink writing on it spelling the word “BITCHES”. I should’ve been wearing a black T-shirt I think judging by everyone else. #OOS.
First gig I’ve been to where people in the audience have done the devil horn thing with their fingers. Weird. They were probably thinking it was still 1992. Tried to counteract them with some gun fingers like as though i was at a rave at Motion but whenever I do that it looks more like I doing the “bowling a googly” fingers. (Coz I’m british, yo, & cricket’s in my blood, yo).
Cycling home some pissed dude decided to walk out in front of me. Usually when that happens I call out “watch out, cock” but I forgot the “watch out” bit & just shouted out “cock” really loudly. I hope he wasn’t offended or thought I was propositioning him.
I used to have a landlord in Manchester ended every sentence with the word “cock”. It kind of stuck & now I do it too. But only to strangers. If I’ve met you & never down it to you it’s coz you’re not strange. Or I’m lying about doing it.
Same landlord also called a helicopter “a helicuh - a helicuh - a helicuhchop - a helicuhchop - a helicuhchopter” & looked really pleased when he got the final “helicuhchopter” out. Would’ve felt cruel pointing out to him it was actually called a “helicopter”. Fortunately we didn’t embark on many conversations about helicuhchopter’s.
Fighting With Wire were kind of good but a bit like Helmet with 1000 times less intensity.
Page Hamiton’s fucking incredible. I hope I’ve got his fucking drive when I’m over 50. Although something pretty radical will have to happen for that to be the case coz I’ve never had close to that much drive at any time in my life. Mebe I need to learn how to play guitar. And kick shit out of distortion pedals.
Finally the free download. I have a friend on twitter has shed loads of old John Peel recordings. When i mentioned I was going to Helmet he dug out this amazing Peel session they did in 1991, a year before Meantime was released. Download & listen at full volume. Scare the fucking neighbours, someone’s got too right? It also has little bits of Peel talking, introducing the tracks. Never fails to make me well up hearing Peel’s voice. But then I’m pathetic & emotional, you’ll probs be ok. *smiley face emoticon*.