Deerfoot Casino, Calgary | November 3, 2012
Entering the stage beneath a synthesized orchestral overture, Helix didn’t waste time building momentum. Setting the dial to 11 with “Wild in the Streets” singer Brian Vollmer took control with gusto using every limb to command the audience and fuel his band mates to push hard to the finish line.
Helix is tight, very tight, and their harmonies precise. This is a band that knows how to play and lock into their groove without hesitation. Vollmer, the orchestra conductor, played to the smart phones held high and attempted to get the crowd motivated into a frenzy of motion. Before “Get Up”, the third song of the night, he proselytized on the meaning of rock. Rock is, “not a spectators sport. Raise your voices to the sky-ya gotta get up!” His earnest appeals were met with quiet apathy and his request was not honored, at least by the majority of the audience, but instead of bemoaning their lack of enthusiasm, he brought the energy to them.
Vollmer worked hard to satisfy. He moved into the audience as far as his microphone cable would allow, singing face to face, one-on-one. He isn’t trying to change the world, only get a real response. And when a few people responded with enthusiasm, he smiled broadly.
New guitarist John Claus, playing his 4th show, is a cross between Tony Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore, complete with jet black hair and dark shades. Though he is the new guy, his style blended easily into the Helix groove and it sounded like this was his 400th show with the band. Guitar virtuosity was clearly displayed when axe partner Kaleb Duck and Claus matched licks on an abridged version of the “William Tell Overture”. Daryl Gray and Greg Hinz provided the solid rhythm and bottom end to allow their brethren to shine. The band’s rendition of A Foot in Coldwater’s “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” elicited a sure fire response and proved that the band has a melodic soft side.
After the show, and following the now obligatory meet-and-greet session at the merch table, Vollmer and company worked the room, posed for numerous pictures and talked with the fans. And Vollmer didn’t just chat he sat down with many people and engaged in intense conversations. Whether he preached the gospel of Helix or talked about the weather, he held their attention with intensity and talked earnestly about the subject at hand.
Helix understands that you can’t change the world, but you can make it a little more special, one fan at a time.
Photography By: Charles Hope