Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Blown Away By The Helio Sequence

Posted by xneverwherex on October 10, 2007

10/8/07

Lots of great bands as always at The Mercury Lounge on this past Monday night. The first band of the night was Sleeping States from the UK. Markland, the genuis behind Sleeping States, put on an amazing set. He was simply adorable as he’d say before a number of songs ‘This is (insert song), and heres how it sounds’. Then on occasion they’d mess up, and he’d say “This isn’t how it sounds. This is how it sounds”. The band had a small 8″ tv set (maybe smaller?) on the edge of the stage playing various clips. Alien Resurrection stood out in my mind as they use a lot of the ambient noise in their music. Experimental is a great way to describe the style as they bring in all sorts of random objects that make noise and amplify their sound during the set. It was definitely something quite different to see and mix that up with sparse vocals, a great drum beat and heavy guitars and you’d get Sleeping States.

Markland proved himself to be quite the cool guy, as I stopped to congratulate him on a great set and asked him if they’d be playing in DC. I mentioned a great friend of mine lived there and she’d love to see their stuff, and he said ‘tell your friend she HAS to come see us’. Very charming, with a great British accent, how can you not fall in love.

Next up was Kill The Lights from Canada. Kill The Lights has 4 guys and 1 female in the band. I wasnt blown away by them, but some songs were really great. The vocals were really hit or miss and between the songs that sounded like they were screamed through, to songs that had more melodies it felt like 2 different bands at times. I’m not sure I’d see them again, but it was a good addition on the set.

NYC’s own Benzos is whom I was most excited to see. I have been a big fan of them since I first saw them opening for Elefant. And have seen them several times since, so it was great to finally be seeing them again. Their 2nd album continues where their first album left off and brings together heavy swirling guitars with gorgeous unassuming vocals from Christian Celaya. Their music is still as brilliant live as it was last I had seen them. Their music still flows through your body as you close your eyes and let it take you to wherever as Christian’s vocals fill the air and lush guitars complement his voice.

Definitely a band not to miss. They are playing 4 shows at CMJ, if not more and for those who have never seen them, be ready for some great dreamy indie rock to transport you. Besides Christian is quite the nice guy as I got to talk with him for a bit after his set while deciding which album to buy. Actually I hadnt listened to the first album in so long, I didnt even know which one I had owned. He told me which was new while telling me I had to come see them again at CMJ. And I was *completely* won over!  – Yeah such a fangirl Im turning into!

Lastly was the brilliant Helio Sequence. I am convinced that some of the most amazing bands come out of Portland, OR. It must be something in the water. Everyone had told me it was a show I couldnt miss and everyone was right. The Helio Sequence is 2 guys – a drummer and guitarist. Ben and Brandon.

Their show went from being good to better than great! I thought it started off on the slower side, and it could have been the fact that I was so annoyed by the guy in front of me who was drunk off his ass and thought he was in the band. I think the band might have been annoyed too, or at least the drummer appeared to be. This guy would bang on the drums and finally security told him to stand back. I guess that wasnt good enough, because he wanted to continue.

Aside for that mess, and getting beer spilled all over me twice, I had the most amazing time watching them, dancing. It was hard not to stay still as the drummer went crazy on the drums, and the lead singer filled the room with his guitar and voice. Long guitars that carried most the songs without a heavy abundance of lyrics is what really had me into the music. The guitars would sweep you off your feet, while the drums kept you grounded moving to the music. About an hour and 15 minutes the band played, and everyone wished they would have kept on playing. Now, Im just waiting till they return again, as there’s no way I’ll ever miss them again.

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