Chrome Plated Eccentric
March 13, 1993
Credit where credit’s due – Vertigo know the value of a good song. Their debut album, “Ventriloquist” is packed full of ‘em – all roaring and stomping and squealing in just the right places – but, live there’s something missing. Oh, they rock for sure. But they lack the essential ingredient of all good rock. They lack danger. It’s only on “Ventriloquist” – when, muscles straining, eyes closed, singer Jarod Aos screams, “Shut up, shut up, shut up/Before I bash your brains in” – that Vertigo transcend their routine, melodycore work-out in favor of something a little more exciting, a little more formidable. Unfortunately, moments like this are few and far between, and Vertigo are a disappointingly ordinary proposition live.
One could never accuse Helios Creed of being ordinary – anything but, for Helios is quite possibly the maddest man alive in the world today. He is madder than Nero, George III, Mad Jack Mcmad and Captain Beefheart all rolled into one – and tonight he’s going to take us on a tour of his own private bedlam. Hang onto your hats, folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. In fact, everything begins quite sedately. He walks onstage, sits down and mutters a brief, unassuming “Hello.” But never forget, Helios Creed is a man who works in extremes, and the opening, deafening bars of “Kiss To The Brain” are so intense and disorienting that I feel I’ve just bungee jumped into Hell. With cheese wire around my ankles. Of course, Creed has been expanding and redefining parameters of guitar playing for nigh on 20 years now – first as one half of legendary avant-gardists Chrome, and now with his own self-titled band – and it’s astonishing that after all this time his vision is still so strong. He sits there in his baseball cap, looking for all the world like Jack Palance, and oh, so coolly distorts time and perspective with the tweak of an A-string or collapses reality with a colossal barrage of feedback. And it’s not just gratuitous noise – Helios Creed is a virtuoso musician. It’s not surprising that the likes of Thurston Moore and Gibby Haynes hold him in such high esteem, the man is a master of his art. And to finish? He leans forward, close to his three microphones – one is normal, one makes him sound like Minnie Mouse, and one makes him sound like a Cyberman – and does something strange and wonderful to “Knockin On Heaven’s Door.” The man is a master. Fabulous. Utterly fabulous.