DJ Hostettler

For the love of Buzzo, go see Helms Alee tonight if you know what’s good for you

By - Sep 9th, 2010 12:07 am
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Helms Alee at the Cha Cha Lounge, Seattle, in July – all images captured from video shot by Seattle Rock Guy

The year was 2010; the month, July. A foul black substance called “oil” had sullied the Gulf of Mexico, the Milwaukee Brewers were mathematically eliminated from me giving a shit, and torrential rain was descending on a city already beset with omnipresent road construction, blistering heat, and nonstop goddamn festivals (hey, I live downtown and parking is a bitch in July). But I had escaped the impending flood on an airplane headed to Seattle for the Capitol Hill Block Party, anxious to see The Night Marchers, Obits, and my boys in Police Teeth. And while I was denied my wish of a drunken Hot Snakes reunion, I still got to absorb a healthy cross-section of Seattle’s best current bands.

So it’s Friday evening and I’m in the basement of the Cha Cha Lounge. It’s been a wacky, drunken day—I somehow ended up with free Dickies clothes for being a “member” of Police Teeth, garage-popsters Unnatural Helpers and the post-punk Absolute Monarchs had already laid waste, and I’ve ended up in this tiki bar’s basement after trying to watch Yeasayer on the block party’s main stage, only to find out that they’re fucking boring live. However, the best of the night was yet to come, as two lovely ladies and a burly, bearded Northwesterner took the “stage” and proceeded to blow my inebriated little mind with a gut-punching set of Melvins-style melodic sludge.

Bassist Dana James and drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis

This was Hydra Head recording artists Helms Alee, and with every crushingly melodic riff, with every messed-up time signature, and with every unearthly harmonized lyric, it got more and more difficult to pick my jaw off the floor. I don’t think I even made a sound during the entire set—I was too busy staring open-mouthed at drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis as she beat the shit out of her kit with a style that had to have been self-taught, it was so jarringly unique and, as a fairly conventionally-trained basher myself, fascinating to watch. Meanwhile, guitarist Ben Verleen (formerly of the band Harkonen) and bassist Dana James harmonized a gravel-throated scream with syrupy, soothing croons. On a weekend where I was destined to see one of the best live bands around in the Night Marchers, Helms Alee had just delivered the best show I’ve seen to date in 2010. And thankfully, I can report that since that drunken night, I have since listened to their album Night Terror while stone-ass sober, and it’s a total ripper.

Guitarist Ben Verleen

Tonight (Thursday), Helms Alee are at the Borg Ward, 823 W. National Ave., with Enabler, The Spur and the Long Lost, and Drumlins. If Fan-Belt goes down in history for one thing, let it be that it got you out to this show. Seriously. To seal the deal, here’s a clip from the Cha Cha Lounge show I was fortunate enough to witness—Helms Alee playing my favorite track off Night Terror, “Grandfather Claws,” courtesy the Seattle Rock Guy blog (which is a kickass blog with rad taste in music, based on the local bands he champions, so get on the ball with this dude). See you tonight, goofballs.

0 thoughts on “For the love of Buzzo, go see Helms Alee tonight if you know what’s good for you”

  1. Anonymous says:

    one of the best bands going right now, hands down.
    do not miss!

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