Helio Sequence Warm Hearts on Stormy Indy Night
Words and Photos by Tiffany Cuthrell
The Helio Sequence made a welcome visit to Indianapolis last weekend at the Hi Fi, delighting new listeners and long time fans alike.
The northwest twosome consists of Brandon Summers on guitars and vocals, and Benjamin Weikel on drums and keyboards. They’ve been jamming together for twenty years now, and the experience definitely shows in their latest release, self-titled LP “Helio Sequence”. 2015 brought to light the pair’s sixth LP, a reflection of a band solidly coming into their own.
“Helio Sequence” displays Summers and Weikel at their best with a style has always felt bigger than just two lads.
The band’s latest album came about from a friendly challenge with their fellow Portland music-making pals. The game was to record twenty songs at prearranged times, all day in the studio. When the process was completed, the songwriters would meet and have a party to reflect on the positive and negative aspects of the process, as well as everything in between. The resulting twenty songs were divided between Helio’s latest album and a limited edition ten track disc that is for sale at the band’s merch booth.
Opening the show was the hometown band, She Does Is Magic. Several Indy folks showed up to support the four fellows, cheering and taking photos throughout. Under dim lights, the band delivered a set of short but powerful rock songs. Toward the end of their night, vocalist Chad Serhal admitted, “My voice is gone! The next one requires singing, so I’m going to sound terrible.” The band soldiered on without a hitch.
Helio Sequence took the stage and filled it with about as much sonic depth as two guys could create. Singer Brandon Summers rocked out on guitar and presented powerful vocals, while drummer Benjamin Weikel pounded powerful rhythms and operated playback of all of the song’s keyboard accompaniment.
The band included songs that covered their expansive discography, while most everyone was oblivious to the tornado warning outside. The crowd was packed with excited folks who had mostly been listening to Helio Sequence for years. One girl exclaimed, “Helio Sequence is my childhood!” Several fans would close their eyes and sway to the music. A couple in the corner was hugging throughout.
Singer Summers gave a personal touch between several songs, whilst telling some stories about the song’s origins and the band. At one point he explained his connection to Indianapolis. He described that his family had lived in Indy. His grandfather went off to war, returned, and moved to Portland when his father was young.
“I’ve only been here a handful of times, but it feels like I know this city”.
He even reflected back to their first tour. They’d gotten an invite to tag along in the early 2000’s with Echobrain. Bassist Jason Newstead had exited Metallica, and the tour consisted of “grown men in Metallica shirts literally crying!” Summers explained their attire back then with a smile, describing misplaced metalheads not understanding their long hair and polyester clothing.
The band concluded their set and thanked the crowd profusely. After a wave of cheers, they returned to the stage and closed out the night with 2008’s “Hallelujah” as an encore.
After the show, the band stuck around to run the merch booth, take photos, and sign autographs for fans.
The duo will soon be wrapping up their tour with stops into Brazil and Mexico.