Helmet and Toadies - Revolution, Fort Lauderdale - July 25
It's still kind of weird to think of '90s bands as nostalgia acts. However, Toadies and Helmet really are just that: Groups that bring you back to another time. A time when the music they created was still relevant and playing in the background of what are now memories of important moments. Those inadvertent soundtracks really do play a significant role in shaping our memories, especially when it comes to inescapable mega-hits, like Toadies "Possum Kingdom," which were played from just about every speaker on the planet for a while.
Droves of fans came out to reconnect with two bands that shared a special time together in the alt rock dorm room of the 1990s. Both followed rather similar paths, paying their musical dues, slaving for the Interscope label, subsequently breaking up, and having now reformed to tour and produce new music.
Opening the show was a band named UME. UME is a trio that plays melodic heavy rock that could very easily trace its roots to some of their tour-mates former '90s brethren. The twist is that there's a young lady playing guitar and singing over the din. At points in the set, UME sounded like what Codeseven could sound like with a poor man's version of the Duke Spirit's Liela Moss on lead vox. The crowd -- while thin for the majority of UME's set -- was receptive to the group's powerful hard rock.
The nice thing about three-band bills (depending on who you ask) is that the bands almost always play extended sets. This was a necessity for both Helmet and Toadies, as both groups have new material they obviously want to play, but are well aware of the fact that people buy the ticket to hear the classics.
Helmet managed to bias its set nicely between every record in the the group's discography. Lead singer and guitarist Page Hamilton did not appear to have aged a whole lot since the band's heyday, and the group sounded tight and energetic. The center of Revolution's floor was transformed into a distinctly '90s style mosh pit, complete with people pogoing, push moshing, and doing that thing with their hand that matches the beat, but looks unbearably white-guy at the same time. There was a lot of that hand motion happening last night. You definitely know the one we're talking about.