Review by Reza Allah-Bakhshi
The Helio Sequence with Modern Memory and The Builders and the Butchers Detroit Bar Feb. 28, 2008
Better Than: Not going to see a rad band.
Download: "Keep Your Eyes Ahead" off the Helio Sequence Myspace page.
I arrived at Detroit halfway into Modern Memory's set. The L.A. rockers did their best to work some energy into the room, but sometimes standing still just doesn’t work. Some ginseng would do wonders for this band.
Musically, Modern Memory had their shit together, however, and I guess that’s what really counts. And they get brownie points for a way sick setup: an illuminated drum set and blue lights reflecting off their amps. All I could think about was how good some acid would be. Light trails galore! I tried to replicate the effect with my camera.
The second set was where the real fun started. The Builders and Butchers are a five-piece band that put a wide range of musical instruments to good use. I’d never heard of these dudes before, but they pulled off the Indie country sound flawlessly. (Think Neil Young and The White Stripes.) Making use of Banjos and Mandolins, having one drummer purely on bass and one on snare makes for an awesome live show.
Songs like “Vampire Lake” and "Spanish Death” got the crowd moving, as did the handing out of pots and pans. Around this time, I got harassed for taking photos by an elderly woman with some liquid courage running through her veins. I ignored her and kept shooting.
The Helio Sequence was out to impress. And impress they did. After a show on Jimmy Kimmel, these guys had new reputation to uphold. They came across smooth, composed and polished. Everything you want to hear on the radio. These guys do Interpol better than Interpol. Brandon Summers distributed words of wisdom to the masses and everyone was paying attention from “Hallelujah” to “Keep Your Eyes Ahead.”
The ex- Modest Mouse band-mate, Benjamin Weikel, was an animal on the drums, only briefly stopping between songs to wipe his sweat-drenched face. Over 200 people packed Detroit Bar and once again Detroit didn’t let us down.
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Personal Bias: The best drummers are the ones who drum with their mouths open. . .And Benjamin Weikel does just that.
By the way: I want Brandon’s ninja shoes.