Saturday Night: Helstar at Warehouse Live
As beer spilled everywhere, the pushing and shoving gradually got a little less friendly. A long-haired guy got decked near the merch table, and a couple of songs later, a big, older dude was set upon by some teens. Both times, it looked as if a full-scale brawl might break out in the middle of Helstar's set, but in each instance Warehouse Live staffers managed to hustle the problem out the door before things got truly ugly.
Helstar was clearly chagrined by the violence, which threatened to cast a pall over what was supposed to be a celebratory affair. Experienced hands that they are, the band managed to keep the night on track by plowing ahead, pumping out as many smiles, licks and positive vibrations as necessary.
By the time Helstar encored with the modern rager "King of Hell," the crowd was back under their spell. Long mops bounced in time as drummer Mikey Lewis pounded out furious machine-gun rhythms. Metal fans young and old opted to put their fists in the air instead of in one another's orbital sockets during the band's traditional finale, "Run With the Pack."
Arms slung over shoulders, the audience once more resembled the familial tribe that Rivera had earlier lauded for its support over the years. Drunk, rowdy and deafened though they may be, these are Helstar's people, and they're pretty tough to kill. Don't be surprised if they're still hanging out and smoking in another 30 years.
Personal Bias: In league with Satan.
The Crowd: Old, young and in-between. Mostly male, if you couldn't guess.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I thought they were gonna play more stoner shit!"
Random Notebook Dump: Headbangers, that's two weeks in a row now that I've seen you beating on each other at concerts by local metal icons. Knock it off.