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The Helio Sequence

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The Helio Sequence, Saturday 4

There were a lot of good bands booked in Boise on June 4; most notably hometown heroes Built to Spill. One band that may have been a bit overlooked was Portland rockers Helio Sequence. Helio Sequence is a duo made up of guitarist/ vocalist Brandon Summers and drummer/ keyboardist Benjamin Weikel (who decided his heart belonged with Helio Sequence after playing a year stint with Modest Mouse). Helio Sequence plays dense, layered rock with pop undercurrents a la My Bloody Valentine (minus the muted vocals); and they play it loud. Not in the annoyingly loud sense (e.g., recent Velvet Revolver concert), where the sound is a painful, indiscernible, reverberated muck, but in the perfect loud sense (where, though you know you should put earplugs in; you don't). I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical of Helio Sequence being able to pull off their studio sound in a live setting; but once they started playing I was enthralled. They were (as any band should be) better live than on disc. The show was one of the best I have seen in Boise in a long time. Weikel was a flurry of pneumatic, syncopated beats played with a Keith Moon reckless abandon. I cannot understate how much this guy gets into it. He is my new favorite drummer. Summers played through his stereo delayed amp stacks to produce a precise wash of sound. When Summers sang, his vocals were impeccable, very often better than their recordings. Summer's also offered one of the best rock incorporations of harmonica that I have ever heard. The catch with Helio Sequence? They are a duo. In order to reproduce their recorded songs live they rely on some sequenced (no pun) tracks off a laptop. But unlike other laptop backed musicians I have seen, Helio Sequence played with an organic, non-quantized approach. It was worked great. According to drummer Weikel, they are always on tour, so I am sure they will be back in Boise soon. Opening the show were SubPop label mates Rogue Wave. They played a tight, melodic set. I am sure they will be around for quite a while. Oh yeah, and kudos to the sound guy (and system) at The Neurolux-the show sounded fantastic (and loud).