Days of Lore

Page Hamilton and Co. strap it on … again.

Page Hamilton and Co. strap it on … again.

VIPs are MIA
I decided to go stand side-by-side with the throngs of 15-year-olds who filled the Senator Theatre to see indie-emo darling Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes. I was a little nervous—would they look at me funny, like that creepy dude sucking down Bud Lights on a Thursday night at The Bear who should have stopped going there back in 1987? Don’t be that guy. If you are that guy … don’t be that guy.

But, there were a few older models at the show, and I was able to blend in with the other dented ones without the humiliation of being pointed at and called a dried-up old fart. Thank goodness, because it was a good show. Oberst delivered his country-tinged songs of love and heartbreak and isolation … and it was the happiest I’ve ever been being sad. It was a nice mix of sparse moments, with just Oberst and his guitar, and full-on country stompers backed by his band.

I split time between the floor and the balcony—the only place us grown-ups can enjoy adult beverages. And in the front of said balcony: a row of seats dubbed the “VIP” section. Awesome. There were only two people occupying the area—and they didn’t look any more important than anyone else at the show. I guess you have to know the right people to be considered very important people.

I asked one of the burly security guys if I could sit in the VIP area. He said only if I was wearing a green wristband.

“But there’s no one sitting there,” I said, pointing out the obvious.

Indeed. He gave me the big N-O.

“But there’s no one sitting there.”

So, I’ve decided that the green used for the wristband represents money and wealth and greed. Well, not really. I know the guy was just doing his job …

… but there was no one sitting there!

Proper head protection
Fortunately, I will be standing during the upcoming Helmet show at the Senator. (But don’t you get it?! There was no one sitting there!)

Helmet is one of those bands that hit me just right at just the right time. It was the early ‘90s, and there was just something very appealing about four guys who looked like frat boys playing some of the heaviest music I had ever heard. The riffs were mammoth, courtesy of schooled guitarist Page Hamilton and Peter Mengede. All of this was locked in by an equally lethal rhythm section that included bassist Henry Bogdan and one of my favorite drummers of all time, John Stanier (now playing with Mike Patton’s Tomahawk, and Battles with ex-Don Caballero guitarist Ian Williams).

With the release of stellar records like Strap It On, Meantime and Betty, the band set the stage for numerous copycats—precision start-stop riffs, that tin-can pop of the snare and barked vocals.

Since the demise of the original lineup, Hamilton has brought in a number of players and will bring his latest version of Helmet to Chico on Fri., Sept., 28 with New York’s Dub Trio and NorCal metal dudes Armed for Apocalypse (with former members of Red With Envy and Oddman).

Three songs to get you primed: “Bad Mood,” “Ironhead” and “Biscuits for Smut.”

Listen. Live it. Love it. But don’t sit in the VIP section unless you have a green wristband.

Gumming things up
I was a little surprised when I found out that über-hip music blog had posted a video of a woman resembling the White Stripes’ Meg White getting her grind on, with the headline “Meg White Sex Tape?”

Come on! Not only is it tabloid pabulum to the Nth degree, but the good folks at Stereogum didn’t even bother to confirm the authenticity of the video before slapping it up on their site.

Well, I watched it … research, of course. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not Meg. In fact, the White Stripes’ publicist sent an e-mail to Stereogum, which was posted to the site, denouncing the vid.