Helmet, The Last Vegas at The Intersection, Grand Rapids

It’s been quite a while since Grand Rapids has been fortunate enough to see Helmet on stage; 18 years to be exact. Needless to say, fans new and old were more than thrilled when Helmet tore up the stage March 20th at The Intersection. Like any other band, Helmet has had its fair share of setbacks; for only having one of the original founding members in the band, Helmet still plays like they did in the 90’s.

The show started off with a few local openers. First on the stage was the three piece band, Flood the Desert from Grand Rapids. Those guys bring a nice change of pace to the local music scene with their eclectic riffs, and a singer who plays guitar as well as keyboard; they easily won over the crowd and made some new fans. I’m really looking forward to the next time I get to see Flood the Desert live. I hope that more bands that are just starting to play out take lessons from these guys on how to balance individuality with choice music.

The Last Vegas took the stage right before Helmet… and by the looks of them, I thought whoever decided to pair the two together needs a little lesson in music genres. These guys looked like Poison on a bad day, with the hair and the ‘glam-rock’ clothing to boot. It was clear by all the screaming females that they have a bit of a following in Michigan. I was actually kind of impressed with the way they moved around on stage, and their power-rock style of music – they were nothing like I expected them to be, and that’s a good thing to say the least.

When it came time for Helmet’s set, the venue was completely crowded with people. It was easy to see that half the crowd waited to get there till right before Helmet took the stage. Hamilton made it a point to give a shout out to fans; saying how they haven’t been in town since ’92 when they were touring with Faith No More. It was clear to me, that the band had been greatly missed. My favorite song of the whole night was “Unsung”, and I haven’t seen a mosh pit that wicked in quite a while. Never mind all the emo kids who come out throwing punches and high kicks every time they see a mosh pit – We’re talking old school pits, with fans who’ve been there since the beginning and have waited for that night for over a decade.

All in all, I thought the night couldn’t have gone any better. Way more people than I expected came out to support a band that has been very influential to metal music. Helmet showed people that it was cool to be a regular Joe Blow with short hair, t-shirts and sneakers and still be just as metal as the best of them. I felt lucky to have been a part of such an awesome night, and I certainly hope that Helmet graces us with their presence again – Hopefully next time is sooner than the last.