I was sceptical at first. When a new band is named Grease Helmet and their first single is titled ”Keep Your Helmet Greasy”, one does not have high expectations. However, the lineup includes Andy McCoy on lead guitar, so I bought a ticket for yesterday’s gig.
Grease Helmet has been around for three years but they didn’t perform puclicly until last month. In July 2011 Andy McCoy told that the debut album will be in stores during the fall. Well, that eponymous album was indeed released in September, but only in 2012 instead of 2011. Two weeks ago I finally listened to the album (I had bought my concert ticket long before that) and I was pleased to hear some real gems on the record. ”Second Try” became my instant favourite off the album, perhaps for the reason that it has some Hanoi Rocks sound. ”No Rocket in My Pocket” is another recommendable song; it has a simple yet catchy chorus. ”Antisocial” sounds good also acoustically, as heard in the band’s recent TV performance.
Yesterday I got to the door of Tavastia Club in Helsinki at 6:45 p.m. and nobody was hanging around there, except two members of the warm-up band Santa Cruz. Even when the venue doors were opened at 8:00 p.m. there were only six people standing in the queue outside. Although I know that most people arrive just a little bit before showtime, it was already rather obvious that the gig won’t be sold out.
The supporting act Santa Cruz has been active since 2007 and is a local band in Helsinki. I knew basically nothing about them in advance and I was positively surprised by their hard rock songs and glam style. Those four young guys have potential – I also told this to their singer afterwards. Two ladies who were standing next to me in the front row left the club as soon as Santa Cruz stopped playing.
After a good warm-up, Grease Helmet started the main show at 10 p.m. The whole gig was a delightful and steady celebration of traditional-sounding hard rock. Nothing slow, nothing sentimental. The band played all songs off their first and only album, even the bonus tracks of the Japanese release. The setlist included also the AC/DC cover ”Dog Eat Dog”, and that’s it. Grease Helmet has Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks, Jere Garcia from Accu, Ben Varon from Amoral and Niclas Etelävuori & Jan Rechberger from Amorphis. Considering this, it wasn’t obvious that they would perform nearly nothing but Grease Helmet’s own material.
Grease Helmet is centered around Andy McCoy’s guitar playing and Jere Garcia’s singing. In some songs Garcia slightly overdoes it and sounds almost chipmunkish, but most of the time he’s doing a good job. The other three members of the band – Etelävuori (bass), Varon (rhythm guitar) and Rechberger (drums) – are the expendables. During yesterday’s show Etelävuori and Varon were mostly standing rather still, looking like they have been just hired to play in Jere and Andy’s band. While this is not the case, this is what it looked like.
As a whole the show was powerful and clearly worth traveling from my hometown Turku to Helsinki. Perhaps the only bad move was starting the encore with Andy’s acoustic solo. By that time some guys in the audience were so pumped up that they kept shouting Andy’s name and clapping their hands non-stop. This seemed to ruin the solo to many other listeners who wanted to enjoy every note without disturbance.
It’s a pity that Tavastia Club wasn’t sold out. Grease Helmet proved to be a decent rock band with a solid sound. All they need now is more audience.
- Sould Our Soul
- Second Try
- Nobody Rides for Free
- The Rocker
- Dog Eat Dog
- Mustang Bebe
- No Rocket in My Pocket
- Keep Your Helmet Greasy
- Andy McCoy’s acoustic solo
- Bigger than Rock’n’Roll
- Speed King