The year 1994 was an insane one for seminal albums (Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral, Nas’ Illmatic, Hammer’s The Funky Headhunter). Never reaching that level, but not unworthy of the discussion was the third full-length from alt-metal outfit Helmet, Betty.
That same year saw Texas rockers the Toadies hit the airwaves with “Possum Kingdom,” certainly the year’s best song about stalking and murdering a woman. Eighteen years later, the two bands joined up for one of the best shows of the year attended by a tragically small number of people.
Toadies lead singer Todd Lewis tore through the band’s muscular Southern Gothic, mixing in new material with a healthy dose of 1994’s Rubberneck, closing with a punishing take on “I Burn” with an assist from Helmet drummer Kyle Stevenson.
Which led right to Page Hamilton and company launching, without preamble, into a bass-threatening-to-implode-your-thorax “Role Model.” A mid-set “Wilma’s Rainbow” was highlighted by a swirling, feedback monsoon in the breakdown, like the soundtrack to a natural disaster on an alien planet.
The Hard Rock enforced a midnight hard-out, depriving concertgoers of “Tic” and “I Know,” but before he was going to play those, an easygoing Hamilton took requests and treated the crowd to “In the Meantime.” If your face hadn’t been already melted off by “Wilma’s Rainbow,” it was in a puddle on the ground by the end. ★★★★☆