Eugene Celebration: Saturday Night at the Rogue Stage

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Helio Sequence's Brandon Summers. Photo by Todd Cooper.

A larger (or at least thicker) crowd showed up for earlier act Menomena than Helio Sequence, which was a shame. Sure, Menomena's had its proverbial dick sucked by those with sometimes quixotic tastes in music while Helio's been alternately pissed on and given a passing chance by that same White Male Whale. So it's easy to see why the imbalance was there (and it couldn't have been because Hell's Belles were playing elsewhere, could it?). But this night, Helio brought it while Menomena sucked it.

Helio Sequence's virtuoso drummer, Benjamin Weikel. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Perhaps wanting to live up to their billing as a "trance" band, Helio opened with a song off their more trance-y debut album, Com Plex. I think the song was "Sassafras" (but please correct me if I'm wrong). I've always preferred the older, "trance-y" Helio Sequence (sometimes referred to as space-pop) but on Saturday the old songs blended well with the anthemic rock of Keep Your Eyes Ahead. This was music to be moving to, but unfortunately hardly anyone was moving (which is baffling considering the entire stage was a beer garden). There were definitely some movers-and-shakers (especially once they tore into their hit, "Keep Your Eyes Ahead") but it was difficult to go all-out with the dancing when there was enough room for a game of four square in the middle of the pit.

I saw HS play an outdoor gig a year and a half ago (Keep Your Eyes Ahead hadn't come out yet), and Saturday nights' showing was much stronger. Sure, Love and Distance is a hit-or-miss dud, but to hear these two Beaverton dudes keep the wall of sound coming in waves was worth the price of an EC wristband alone. Naturally for this Beatles-influenced band, they ended their set with their ingenious cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows," off of Com Plex. It reminded me that even the Beatles had their anthems and their jams and psychedelic spurts.

Menomena: All washed up with nowhere to go? Photo by Todd Cooper.

Opposite of my show experiences

First - what about Fast Computers??

Second - I saw Menomena in Seattle for the Capitol Hill Block Party and thought they were pretty good. I saw them at WOW Hall sometime last year and also had a good time. But the one time I have seen Helio Sequence (at the Crystal Ballroom last April...or March?), it was as if I had hit play on the CD. They had no energy, no ad libs, and basically stood/sat there playing songs almost in order off of the new album. So - I'm pretty disappointed to hear that this show was so different. I wonder what the deal was at the Crystal?

That show also had a poor performance by The Shaky Hands, though, so perhaps there was something in the Crystal's water that night. The "play like shit" virus? I'm hopeful that The Shaky Hands will be better at Sam Bond's in October.

Submitted by Cara (not verified) on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 16:11.
1 - Menomena sounding sucky

1 - Menomena sounding sucky could've been because of technical difficulties (the drumming was definitely muted). But also I'm just unimpressed by Friend and Foe.

2 - Too busy chatting/boozing to give a decent review of The Fast Computers, though the sound people definitely compensated for Friday's lack of bass with uber-bass during the Computers set. Also it was nice seeing them on such a large stage but are probably more suited to the smaller clubs.

3 - Yes, it is agreed that Helio Sequence have no show-boaty stage presence (other than a super-animated drummer). Brandon Summers just looks shy up there.

Submitted by Chuck Adams on Tue, 09/16/2008 - 10:48.
ouch!

chuck, methinks you are taking out a bit of your frustration with the White Male Whale (rightly so, but) on the menomena men. a coupla years ago they were an unknown but awesome up and coming band championed; now that they are getting (a small level) of success some of the community is turning their backs on them.

I hate that about this indie music thing. I love, love, love every song they have recorded.

xoxoxo

Submitted by mandee (not verified) on Tue, 09/16/2008 - 14:15.

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