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