Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Showoff

By Michael Henningsen

JULY 28, 1997: 


Saturday, July 26; El Rey Theater: On Helmet's most recent Interscope release, Aftertaste, Page Hamilton has put the exclamation point on what his band has always been about: heavy, with more conviction, determination and purpose than most of what passes for alternative music these days. Since their debut record, Strap It On on Amphetamine/Reptile, Helmet's core--made up of vocalist/guitarist Hamilton, bassist Henry Bogdan, guitarist Pete Mengede and drummer John Stanier--have continued to produce the heaviest of the heavy without resorting to "industrial" tactics or compromising their extreme songwriting talents.

As Helmet has evolved, so, too, have the strengths and talents of each individual member. Hamilton, for instance, actually sings these days. Aftertaste was recorded as a trio, but the touring unit includes guitarist and latest Helmet addition, Chris Traynor, formerly of Orange 9mm. Together, Helmet make music that resonates with the aggressive intent that got Hamilton interested in music in the first place.

With so little out there with life all its own, Helmet are a refreshing scream in the ear. Teamed with The Melvins and Regurgitator, this event is quite possibly the rock show of the summer. Don't miss it!

--Michael Henningsen


Sunday, July 27; Dingo Bar: The Paladins' "Goin' Down to Big Mary's" is one of the few songs that runs through my mind with any consistency. The polished, hard-working rockabilly trio always brings with them an air of mystery and the promise of musical genius. Some of that genius appears to have permanently taken up residence in my psyche. And I could do a whole hell of a lot worse.

Armed with a couple of vintage guitars, an upright bass and a modest drum kit, the Paladins live the life more vibrantly than just about any body out there. Touring constantly leaves them little time to focus on much other than their music, and that's what keeps them ahead of the game.

Provide them with a smoke-filled room, a few bottles of beer and an enthusiastic crowd, and the Paladins will light fires that burn for eons. The music they make is the kind of rockabilly that sticks to the ribs, as my grandfather used to say--music that lives and breathes on its own, fueled by your energy as it fuels your soul.

If you haven't seen them in awhile, now's your chance.

--Michael Henningsen

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