Friday Night: Toadies, Helmet & Ume at House of Blues

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It wasn't until the band kicked into "Renovation" from 1997's Aftertaste, though, that it started to feel like a real Helmet show. They played a good bit of material I remembered from Aftertaste and Betty, including "Driving Nowhere," "Birth Defect" and set highlight "Wilma's Rainbow."

Songs from the group's breakthrough album, Meantime, didn't make it into the set. The band did one of those increasingly popular "album release anniversary" nostalgia tours for that record last year, and evidently they're sick of it.

"That album is retired for the next year, just so you know," Hamilton said.

The singer kept the onstage chatter to a bare minimum compared to the last Helmet gig I saw. The group finished up with "Milquetoast," thanked the crowd and beat it.

The crowd's response to Helmet was polite and enthusiastic, but c'mon, this is Texas. That stage belonged to the Toadies on Friday night, and as the floor swelled with concertgoers, there was no question which of the co-headliners had packed the house.

The House of Blues can get a tad claustrophobic during sold-out shows. People were packed in tight like Bourbon Street crowds during Mardi Gras, and drunks smashed their way across the floor like Siberian icebreakers.

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith