It takes massive cojones or an unshakable belief your fanbase will follow you wherever you take them to start a headline set with three new songs from an album not yet scheduled to be released. However, Helicon is that sort of band, and they’ve got that type of audience.
A hometown show always means a few more hangers-on and personal heckles and catcalls, but if that vibe fits the night’s tone, it’s not an issue. The media might be keen to portray the nation’s mood (as of the time of the gig) as deep mourning, but we know that’s not the case.
It’s not even small pockets of rebellion; it’s a plain fact that many people have more to be doing with their life than pausing to reflect in a manner more suited to medieval times. Whatever you want to do, as long as it doesn’t negatively or unnecessarily impact others, is alright, and Helicon does what they do.
They do it loud, vocals overpowered into the mix loud, but it all makes sense. With an album title of This Can Only Lead To Chaos up their sleeves and so much merriment at the top end grabbing the attention, you know Helicon have got a dependable backend that allows the spirals and loops to reverberate. When your front-of-stage space is more akin to the deck of the Starship Enterprise than a small platform on Sauchiehall Street, and you don’t blink with the introduction of sitars and bells, you know there’s a happening taking place.
And at times, it was chaos, but controlled chaos, and while the front row dancers were in danger of losing control of their limbs and senses, the band had it all in hand. You can’t make this style of music so well and for so long if you don’t.
An intriguing bass line helmed the night’s first song, and even without the Mexican wrestling mask, the drummer drew focus all night. There’s a lot of ceremony with a Helicon show; you can’t say anything else about a gig that features a musician in a satanic goat mask. (Apologies if the goat mask wasn’t satanic, it’s probably best not to make assumptions like that). Through all that, though, it only works because the music is so captivating.
Anyone looking for all the extra-curricular stuff could find it from the comfort of their home in countless books, TV shows, films, podcasts or whatever. Costumes alone don’t drag people out of their homes midweek.
Either way, something is endearing about it all. The repetitive swirling sound, simultaneously climbing but never peaking, takes you on a, let’s not be stereotypical and say a trip, a journey. For the entire set, you’re locked in with the band, and it’s easy to see why they’re a band psych-lovers hold close to their heart.
Outsiders should drop in and out as they see fit, it’s a fantastic show when it’s fired up, but for those looking for a group to cling on to, Helicon is the sort of act that fits the ball.
Listen to Helicon here: Music | Helicon (bandcamp.com)