Helmet at Manchester Academy 3Support: Local H
March 11, 2017 at Manchester Academy 3
Promoter: CMH Live
After a couple of visits in recent years performing the albums Meantime and Betty in full, NY icons Helmet returned to the UK in support of last years Dead To The World album.
Support for their European tour was Chicago duo Local H (who had also followed them across the US, meaning tonight was gig number 79 of 80 that the bands were playing together) and they were nothing short of a revelation. Playing a loud and chaotic mixture of punk, stoner and some more progressive moments, the band got a great reaction from the crowd and it was well deserved. This was their first visit to the UK, and hopefully it won’t be their last as their pissed off noise really struck a chord. Think a collision of Mudhoney and Bleach era Nirvana and you are somewhere near there.
Helmet arrived onstage and immediately started tearing through songs and took a few people by surprise. It wasn’t until maybe six or seven songs into the set that Page addressed the crowd, and then he started educating the crowd with a few facts about the band members hometowns. The atmosphere picked up immediately and became much more relaxed and the band really looked to be enjoying themselves from then on. The new material sounded great, although by this stage, it’s only really new to us, with the band having toured it heavily already over the last few months. Last years Dead to The World release featured heavily as the band raced through their set with amazing efficiency before disappearing offstage, having played everything that was on their setlist onstage.
Whilst everyone was wondering if that was it, and the gig had finished really early, they returned back to the stage and asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. It was no surprise that after a fair amount of new material, the crowd wanted to hear some classics and Page Hamilton duly obliged. He commented that they might play “one or two more, maybe three, because no one wants to hear four” which seemed to have the desired effect as the crowd shouted for more, and they got more with ‘FBLA’, ‘Unsung’, ‘Turned Out’ and ‘Meantime’ all getting an airing before the band finished what was an excellent night.
What started off looking like a band getting towards the end of a tour and slightly going through the motions ended in a great atmosphere with a great connection between the band the fans. Everyone seemed to get the songs that they wanted to hear when I overheard conversations leaving the venue, and that can be no easy thing, especially when you think of a band like Helmet and their output over the years. Great night.
Helmet set list: ‘Free / Give It’ – ‘Life Or Death’ – ‘Birth Defect’ – ‘Vaccination’ – ‘Bad News’ – ‘Drunk’ – ‘Overrated’ – ‘I(Heart)MyGuru’ – ‘Red Scare’ – ‘In Person’ – ‘Crisis King’ – ‘Life Or Death (slo)’ – ‘Milquetoast’ – ‘FBLA’ – ‘Unsung’ – ‘Turned Out’ – ‘Meantime’.