Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Helmet redeems itself on 20th anniversary of Betty

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 1:01 PM


click to enlarge Helmet at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Helmet at the Social

I’m definitely a Helmet fan. But several reasons conspired to make me walk into their latest show (Sep. 26, The Social) with less than fanatical attitude. First, the focus was the 20th anniversary of their third record Betty. While that album’s in what is widely considered their prime early era, not everything old is necessarily classic. And Betty is no Meantime. More than that though, some anemic performances over the past decade or so had me half-resigned to the prospect that they’re on their denouement. In fact, during this show, bandleader Page Hamilton himself alluded to a dismal appearance 10 years ago at this very club where he was completely fubar.

click to enlarge Helmet at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Helmet at the Social

But this time, at a show completely their own (no openers even), in an up-close venue, Helmet sounded absolutely virile, their controlled fury a respectable, concentrated brute once again. For the first 45 minutes, they powered straight through Betty without pause or audience address. Played live by a powerfully focused band, the album is much more convincing. Seeing Hamilton play the technical jazz guitar intro of “Beautiful Love” took on an impressiveness I’d never felt hearing it on record. After concluding the album, they opened up the set list into a more typical concert, complete with Hamilton’s famously surly humor.

click to enlarge Helmet at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Helmet at the Social

I would’ve if I had to, but I’m glad I’ve no reason this time to pan a band as good or important as this. Now I need to go dig up my old Helmet T-shirt. Since pride is no longer past tense when it comes to that name, I think it’s time to dust off that bad boy again.

click to enlarge Helmet at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Helmet at the Social


This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Related Locations


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation