Saturday, May 13, 2017

Helix and Kick Axe Live in Edmonton May 6th 2017

Last Saturday my Cuz and I went to the Helix and Kick Axe double bill at the Century Casino here in Edmonton. When I first saw heard of this show being announced I was excited to see it. Not only because it would be a fun show to see these two Canadian heavy metal bands play again, but it was also the very first concert I ever went to. Back in 1984 when I was a 14 year old I saw this exact same double bill play at the old Golden Garter here in E-Town. So for nostalgic reasons if anything I really wanted to go. But with tickets being 50 dollars it was out of my range with all the other shows I want to see this summer. But much to my surprise I was able to see this show for free, thanks very much to the drummer of Kick Axe Brian Gillstrom who was nice enough to put me on the guest list for the show. Now I was really stoked and excited about reliving my youth with this all Canadian metal double bill. Give me an R,O,C,K!!!! This was going to be a fun show.

My very fist concert ticket stub.

The first band of the evening was Regina band Kick Axe who are now based in Vancouver. This was my fourth time seeing them in concert and first time I have seen them since 1986. When I heard about this show I had to look into who was still in the band. Well, much to my surprise it was all originals from their classic line-up except for the lead singer. Now singing for Kick Axe is Daniel Nargang who replaces George Criston. So still in the band is Brian Gillstrom on drums, Victor Langen on bass, Ray Harvey on lead guitar and Larry Gillstrom on lead guitar.

The band was in fine form with guitarist Ray Harvey and bassist Victor Langen looking to have the most fun on stage. Ray was smiling through out the whole show and really ripping it up on the guitar. And Victor on bass having a blast too, and I had forgotten all about his famous axe bass in which he played the whole show.

Kick Axe opened the show with "Alive & Kickin'" from their first album Vices that came out in 1984, they actually played a lot from that album, which to me is their best album. Other songs played from that album was the title song "Vices", in which lead singer said to raise your drinks and cheers, that was when I got a good laugh when the band all raised a bottle of water. Hey, I guess everyone is getting older and don't swill the beers like they used to. So from the album Vices, they played "On The Road To Rock", "Just Passin' Through", "All The Right Moves", and of course "Heavy Metal Shuffle". Lead singer Daniel Nargang did a great job as did Brian Gillstrom on drums, he was pounding the hell out of the drums all night.

Other songs played were "Welcome To The Club" the title song from their 1985 album, "Hellraisers", "Too Loud...Too Old", "Feels Good, Don't Stop". And from their 1986 album Rock The World they played "Medusa", "Rock The World" and closing out the set with the Fleetwood Mac cover "The Chain". What surprised me was for the encore after the near capacity crowd cheered them back tot he stage they closed their 75 minute set with another Fleetwood Mac song "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)". What an awesome set and so much fun flashing back to the old metal head days.

Kick Axe at Century Casino.

Next up was Kitchener, Ontario rockers Helix. Now this was the exact opposite of Kick Axe with only lead singer Brian Vollmer being the only original member still in the band. Although the bass player Daryl Gray has been in the band since 1984 except for a seven year absence between 2002-2009. As for the rest of the band, I wasn't familiar with any of the other names. This was my fourth time seeing Helix in concert, the last time being I believe in the late 90's early 2000.

What impressed me the most about Helix's performance was lead singer Brian Vollmer's stage presence, he is still a great front man knowing how to work a crowd and still has a decent voice. Although he looks rougher then the last time I saw them, which only makes sense with it being many a years since I saw them play live. He has certainly lived the rock n' roll life I am sure.

Helix didn't disappoint with their performance and song selection playing mostly oldies like "Heavy Metal Love", "No Rest For The Wicked", "Rock You","Gimme Gimme Good Lovin", "Animal House" from their albums No Rest For The Wicked and Walkin' The Razors Edge. From their 1985 album Long Way To Heaven they played the title cut and "Deep Cuts The Knife". I remember not liking that album when it first came out but now think it was a very underrated album.

The last Helix album I bought was 1987's Wild In The Streets, and luckily they played a few songs from that one as well, the title song and another which is escaping me right now. This was a fun night of old Canadian heavy metal which brought back a lot of memories, and hell it was the exact same bill as the very first concert I ever went to in my life, and since that show back in 1984 I have been hooked since. Good times!!!

Helix at Century Casino.

After the show Brian Vollmer of Helix took the time to sign autographs and meet his fans and take pictures which was cool. I picked up his autobiography "Gimme An R!The Story of Brian Vollmer, Lead Vocalist of Helix", This should be a very interesting read. Brian even autographed it for me and my ticket sub from the very first concert I ever saw.

What an awesome night. And a huge Thank You! to Brian Gillstrom of Kick Axe for putting me on the guest list for the show. You made my week, it was nice to chat with Brian and show him the ticket stub too, he thought it was pretty cool that I still had it from 1984. Thanks Brian.

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