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Helmet @ Folwers Live 4th May 2008

Last night I got to go to my first gig since the Big Day Out, and that was to see Helmet play at one of our local clubs Fowlers Live.  Even though Helmet are now a very different lineup from when I saw them last in 1997 (Singer/Guitarist Page Hamilton is the only original member left in the band), I was excited about seeing them, especially when I heard they’d be playing all of their Meantime album.  Being one of my favorite albums, I’m happy to saw the band did and awesome job, and as an added twist, played it in reverse order.

Page HamiltonThe opening band were called Lady Strangelove.  The came on pretty much as soon as I walked throught the door and brought a drink.  They’re a psychadelic rock band, with a bit of a stoner rock influence.  They seemed to play pretty well, and had a lot of on-stage energy, but personally I felt they spent maybe a bit too long with extended solo’s and jams.  Extended jams can be good if you’re into the band, but when most of the crowd aren’t really digging it, and you’re waiting for the main act, it gets a little tedious.  And none of the musicians were really skillful enough that I though at any point “man this is really cool”.  However, they did a good job, and the songs they had were pretty good, and are far from the worst support act I’ve ever seen!

After a relatively short setup period (all of the bands equipment was already on stage and soundchecked), Helmet came onstage, starting with the only track (Swallowing Everything) played from their most recent album Monochrome.  Following a couple of Aftertaste tracks, the band started playing Meantime in reverse order, starting with Role Model and eventually ending with Meantime.  Better and Turned Out were definitely highlights for me, and the band were extremely tight all throughout the night.

Page was in quite a good mood throughout the night, frequently chatting to the crowd and apologising for taking 10 years to get back to Adelaide.  He also appears to be a big Coopers fan, which will come as no surprise to most South Australians.Jon & Dan

After finishing Meantime, the band left the stage briefly and eventually returned, playing an encore of Wilma’s Rainbow, See You Dead and Crisis King.  These final couple of track featured some extensive guitar noodling, none of which I found particularly exciting.  In fact the encore was a little dissappointing, though I guess once you’ve played through an album like Meantime, you don’t leave yourself anywhere to go.

Personally, I enjoyed the set list, though would have like to have heard something from Strap It On and Size Matters, or possibly some more from the new album.  Seeing all of Meantime was great, but part of me would have liked to see a little more variety, and given that the last tour was from the Aftertaste tour, a few less tracks from that album would have been nice.  I guess there’s only so much you can fit into a 90 minute show.

Page HamiltonThe venue was a pretty cool place to see Helmet.  It’s reasonably small, the capacity is about 500, and I don’t think the show sold out.  The sound was great, though possibly a little loud.  My ears are still ringing as I write this.  That could be old age though!  It was a very intimate performance, and it was easy to get a great spot, in my case right on the barrier.

Fowlers also uses an electronic ticketing system provided by Moshtix, which worked really well, and entry was fast and painless.  More venues should look into this system, as it’s basically a swipe card you load your tickets onto when you make a book, either online or in the shop.  Potentially, this could be a great way to combat scalping.Setlist

After the gig, all the members of the band came down to the front of the stage, and chatted with the crowd.  I managed to score a setlist, and shake hands with Page and the rest of the gang.  Too band I didn’t have anything to get an autograph with though.

Overall, it was a great show.  My initial fears of them being a bit past it were well and truely put to rest, these guys were as good as the Helmet I saw in 97 and 93(?).  Despite the revolving-door band lineup, the band was tight, and played all the songs with a lot of energy.  Considering it was the fifth straight night they’ve played, and the last gig of the tour, I thought that was a good effort.

If you get the chance to see these guys play in your town (they’re doing a short European tour in June) then make sure you check them out.  It’ll be well worth it!

Tool postpone Adelaide show

Update: The Adelaide Entertainment Centre are reporting on Facebook that they’ve been given the all clear for the show, so looks like it’s all good for tonight!

Update 2: Looks like Maynard has confirmed also:

Last nite only 1st gear outta 5. 2day we’re runnin about 4th. Fuck it. Lets do this. If ya can’t find em, grind em

Well, quite a surreal night tonight. One minute I’m sitting in the pub enjoying some of Maynard’s finest work at the Sip & Listen wine tasting event, the next everyone in the room gets an SMS at the same time saying the Tool show had been postponed until tomorrow. The mood in the room sobered up pretty quickly! Official word from Frontier is:

URGENT: ADELAIDE TOOL CONCERT POSTPONED FROM TONIGHT TO TOMORROW NIGHT WED 1 MAY

The Frontier Touring Company regret to advise that we have just been notified that Tool’s Adelaide’s performance scheduled for this evening has been postponed to tomorrow, Wednesday 1 May.

Maynard James Keenan has been advised by doctors against performing this evening.

Tonight’s concert will be rescheduled to tomorrow night – Wednesday 1 May. All tickets remain valid and as allocated and do not need to be exchanged.

If a patron is unable to attend tomorrow night, they are advised to seek a refund immediately from their original point of purchase. Please seek a refund by Monday 6 May.

Meanwhile Maynard has the following to say in Twitter:

Effing throat won’t go. Adelaide show is postponed until Mañana, May 1st. Sorry

I feel bad for the several Tool fans I spoke to who had flights back home to Perth and other locations in the morning. Get well soon Maynard!

Lustmord to play Unsound Festival in Adelaide

I was flicking through the Adelaide Festival program this morning, and noticed that frequent Tool collaborator Lustmord will be playing a set in town for the Unsound Festival. This festival takes place over 3 nights in a couple of venues in Adelaide, and Lustmord will be performing with Demdike Stare, Pole and Ben Frost on Saturday the 16th of March at Her Majesty’s Theatre:

Low frequencies, dark ambient, post punk, black metal and noise; field recordings from caves, crypts and slaughterhouses; and an occult project fusing elements from cult soundtracks and fractured dub – things get dark and spooky on Unsound Adelaide’s last night of stunningly experimental electronic music. Hold tight as legendary sound artist Lustmord, occult project Demdike Stare with Unsound-commissioned work Concealed, featuring Zephyr Quartet, influential German glitch and dub-inspired deep electronic artist Pole and acclaimed musical surgeon Ben Frost take to the stage.

Other highlights of the festival include Adelaide Symphony Orchestra performing 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as the Kronos Quartet + Bryce Dessner performing JG Thirwell’s Manorexia.

Review: Dillinger Escape Plan & Periphery @ Fowlers Live

Note: This post contains no Tool content (aside from a few Tool shirts I saw at the gig).  For those that can’t handle that concept, please move on!

Last night I was lucky enough to head into town with a mate of mine and check out a band I’ve been meaning to see in a small setting for some time now.  The Dillinger Escape Plan are a band I’ve been a fan of for a while now, and it seemed that every time they did their own tour here I missed the gig for one reason or another.  I was the lucky enough to check them out at Soundwave in 2009, and they put on a great show there, so I expected big things here.

This year, they toured playing a local small venue here called Fowlers Live, and I made sure I didn’t miss it this time around!  Also on the bill were American metallers Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster and Periphery.

The gig was all ages, and the last one I went to at Fowlers started really early, so this time I made sure I was there not long after the doors opened so I could catch Periphery.  They jumped on stage at about 7:30pm, which personally I think is far too early, and played to a crowd of maybe 100 people.  They put on a good show though, and seemed quite into it despite the lack of crowd response (there were a few die-hards jumping about). 

They played about 5 songs I think, all of which I think I recognised form their debut album.  Having 3 guitarists on stage was a little different – looked like there wasn’t much empty space on the already small stage!  I had a quick chat with the guys after the show as well, the seemed like really cool guys, and were genuinely happy to be give the chance to play Down Under.  I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.  I’m not sure these guys are really at their best yet, but I feel there’s potential for these guys to be a pretty good band.

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster were up next, and I’m not really a fan of theirs.  Unfortunately for them their set didn’t change my opinion of them, so we hit the bar for a few Pale Ales.

Thankfully by the time Dillinger came on, the crowd size had increased somewhat, and it actually felt like their was an audience in front of the stage for once.  DEP seemed to have made an effort to bring their lighting rig with them, as the stage was filled with many more lights than are usually present at a Fowlers gig.  No fancy ones swinging from the roof though.

Dillinger Escape Plan hit the stage at about 9:30, and played for just shy of an hour.  Basically, they kicked ass.  The set list was more or less as you’d expect – a range of classics from all of their albums, with the highlight for me being the final song Farewell Mona Lisa.  As is expected at a DEP gig, they well full of energy, leaping all over the place, slinging guitars around and jumping into the crowd – all while a seizure inducing lightshow was on display.

Dillinger I felt where at their best when they played songs which varied the tempo from blisteringly fast, to more mellow and slowed down sections.  Mouth of Ghosts was a great example of this, and while I love the full on aspect of DEP live, my favourite parts of the set where the more mellow sections such as this.

The only criticisms I would have is that the sound was cranked partway through the set, and what started sounding pretty good, became a bit of a distorted mess in the end.  Could be just my old ears though…

Overall it was a great night, Fowlers is a cool little venue, and I always enjoy seeing bands there.  I thought the ticket prices were perhaps a little too expensive (after booking fees it was just under $70), though if I were a Maylene fan I probably would have thought otherwise.  The crowd size was disappointing.  I thought DEP would be more popular than this, but I guess Tuesday nights aren’t really conducive to big shows in Adelaide (or any other night I suspect…).  Shows starting this early suck as well, but being as they’re all ages on a Tuesday night, I guess that’s understandable.  Though I was happy with the lineup for the night, I wished there was a local support act – local music needs all the support and exposure it can get.

Didn’t have a great night with the camera tonight, Dillinger’s light show was a little tricky for my Nexus One, but here’s a snap of Periphery:

2010-05-18 19.37.46

Review: Pearl Jam @ Adelaide Oval 17-Nov-09

Last night I had the opportunity to check out Pearl Jam for the first time, thanks for a mate of mine who managed to get me ticket for $50.  My short review is that it was $50 very well spent, and was certainly worth a full price charge.  My lengthier review is as follows:

The evening started with us getting to the venue at about 6:30pm.  By that time the opening act Liam Finn had already been and gone, and Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 were just starting.  They put on a pretty good set from what I heard, though most of the set was spent in a long line to get a beer.  Eddie Vedder came out to join the band for a cover of Queen’s Under Pressure.

Initial concerns that the sun was in a bad spot (the stage was facing east with the sun setting directly behind it) were quickly quashed, as the sun hit the horizon at more or less the same time as Pearl Jam came on stage.  Security checking people getting access to general admission was pretty relaxed, we had seated tickets near the back somewhere and had no problems walking straight into GA.  While it was great for us, those who paid a ticket premium to get into this area would justifiably be a little pissed.

Pearl Jam’s set was a mix of tracks both old and new.  They rolled out the classics as expected, threw in about half a dozen tracks off their latest album and also played a cover of The Who’s The Real Me.  Overall the setlist was pretty good, there were a few tracks I didn’t recognise, but I missed a few of their last albums, so that’s no huge surprise.  Eddie was in great spirits during the show, taking plenty of chances to chat to the audience, certainly giving us the impression that they are genuinely happy to be in town and performing for us.

During the first encore Ben Harper joined the band onstage to play his slide guitar on the track Red Mosquito, and then sang Indifference in duet with Eddie.  Other highlights of the set included a great extended jam during Even Flow, and a thumping version of Rearviewmirror, apparently not played in Adelaide since 1998.  The oval lights coming on midway through Alive during the encore didn’t faze the band either, who seems to ignore this “get off stage” message and continued to finish their set as planned.

Sonically, the show is as good as any outdoor gig I can remember.  Occasionally you could here a little reverb about the place, but overall the sound was top notch.  Hat’s off to the audio crew for this show.  The camera work and lighting were all great as well, though I’d guess when you’ve been around as long as Pearl Jam, and have access to the resources they do, you’d expect all of this.  However, similar bands have been disappointing in this area, so it’s great to see someone get it right.

Overall, it was a great show, I’d almost go as far as to say it’s one of the top 10 gigs I’ve ever been to.  If you’re a Pearl Jam fan given the opportunity to see them on this tour, then make sure you do – you won’t be disappointed.

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