The killer double metal bill of Mutoid Man and Helms Alee brought their tour to Los Angeles's Resident on Monday night (7/10). The small venue was totally packed, and Seattle trio Helms Alee completely flattened it. They have an extremely powerful sound, and that it translates so well live is due in large part to the democratic nature of the proceedings -- this is a band where all three members contribute an equal dose of personality, each contributing distinct vocal and instrumental approaches. Guitarist Ben Verellen furnishes screams that cut through even the thickest sludge; bassist Dana James has one of the heaviest low-end presences you'll hear in a live setting; and Hozoji Margullis is simply an awesome drummer, holding things together with a thunderous attack to go along with soaring vocals. They're the type of band that's good at stopping on a dime and pulling the rug out from under you, and the songs (mostly from 2016's excellent LP Stillicide) are uniformly strong. At times they conjure the majestic fury of a band like Kylesa, at others the searing post-punk of The Jesus Lizard.

For Mutoid Man's headline set, fun was the order of the night for them. As much as I like their recorded output (most recently the excellent War Moans), after last night I would argue that nothing really touches their live show. There's an element of archness and irony to the band, built on the idea that Ben Koller and Stephen Brodsky (of Converge and Cave In, respectively) are somewhat slumming it in this project that reads as lowbrow compared to the highly serious output of the bands that they're primarily known for. But if this is all a lark, that's what makes it great -- there was something uniquely pleasurable about seeing world-class heavy musicians just focused on giving people a good time. Brodsky plays the ur-metal frontman persona for all its worth, slinging tongue-in-cheek boasts and bad jokes as often as he slings fire-breathing solos (which is very often). They simply deliver the goods -- riffs, choruses, solos, all at maximum energy and fun. The crowd responded by going completely insane. I haven't gotten my ass kicked like that and been so happy about it in awhile. Bassist Nick Cageao is a great, middle-finger hurling presence, and Koller, it practically goes without saying, is one of the greatest drummers alive, an absolute joy to watch all night.

So, basically, you should catch Mutoid Man live if you can. It rules. You'll have the opportunity to do so when they hit NYC as tour support for the great Boris at Warsaw on November 1. Tickets for that show (which also features n) are on sale now. Helms Alee will also be joining Boris for some of those tour dates, so keep your eyes peeled.

Unfortunately I was too late to catch opener Mustard Gas and Roses, the local post-metallers who were recently added to the Psycho Las Vegas bill. Check out some more pics and videos from Momday night's show, below.


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